5

University of Missouri Concert Jazz Band: Home: The Columbia, MO Sessions, Vol. 1

Jack Bowers By

Sign in to view read count
University of Missouri Concert Jazz Band: Home: The Columbia, MO Sessions, Vol. 1 An observation worth repeating: college jazz ensembles keep getting better and better. And that's a good thing. Furthermore, they no longer reside for the most part in larger cities on the east or west coasts, but are emerging more often in such mid-sized hamlets as, say, Columbia, MO, better known for jump shots and touchdowns than high notes and fascinatin' rhythms. That's where the University of Missouri ensemble makes its home, and a handsome abode it is, as exemplified on its latest album, Home, subtitled "The Columbia, MO Sessions, Vol. 1."

Not only do these young men and women—from half a dozen states and as far away as Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia—play with maturity and finesse, they also write extremely well. Seven of the dozen numbers on this admirable two-CD set were composed by students, and none is less than persuasive. Disc 1 closes with two striking examples: guitarist Michael Strasbaugh's high-spirited flag-waver, "Orange County," and the picturesque tone poem "Away from Home," written by the group's pianist, Lily Tan—she's the one from Kuala Lumpur. The ensemble is so dexterous, in fact, that the review has advanced this far without any mention of its celebrated guests, trumpeter Byron Stripling and saxophonist Bob Sheppard, each of whom solos—marvelously—on seven numbers.

Other student compositions are by trumpeter Lexie Signor ("At Dawn of Day," "Happily Ever After"), trombonist David Witter ("Never Saw, Close Hummingbird Friend"), trumpeter Meredith Hammer ("Groob") and Ben Colagiovanni (the irrepressible "6th Street Swing," which opens Disc 2). The ensemble's director, Arthur White, wrote the shuffling "Bump and Grind" and rhythmic "Sabor a Mi," Peter Erskine "Cats and Kitttens," Joe Locke "Signing," James Carter the happy-go-lucky finale, "Frisco Follies." Tan is showcased superbly (with Sheppard and Stripling) on "6th Street Swing," as is vibraphonist Nathan Smith on "Signing." For his part, White supplies virile tenor solos on "Signing" and "Bump and Grind." Most charts are straight-ahead, with the fanciful "Hummingbird" the lone exception. Signor, Hammer, Witter and Tan are efficient soloists, as are alto Dylan Roebuck, tenors Chad Tucker and Michael Neu, baritone Dillon Dains, trumpeter Jason Mathews, trombonist Andrew Meyer and bassist Sam Copeland.

In sum, a solidly impressive session by yet another up-and-coming undergraduate ensemble. Thumbs up.

Track Listing: Disc 1 — Bump and Grind; At Dawn of Day; Groob; Cats and Kittens; Orange County; Away from Home. Disc 2 — 6th Street Swing; Never Saw, Close Hummingbird Friend; Happily Ever After; Sabor a Mi; Signing; Frisco Follies.

Personnel: Arthur White: director, saxophone; Lexie Signor: trumpet; Jason Mathews: trumpet; Meredith Hammer: trumpet; Nassim Benchaabane: alto sax; Dylan Roebuck: alto sax; Chad Tucker: tenor sax; Michael New: tenor sax; Dillon Dains: baritone sax; David Witter: trombone; Andrew Brown: trombone; Andrew Meyer: trombone; Sam Reed: bass trombone; Lily tan: piano; Paulo Oliveira: guitar; Michael Strausbaugh: guitar; Sam Copeland: bass; Ryan Freeman: drums; Nathan Smith: vibes, percussion. Special guests — Byron Stripling: trumpet; Bob Sheppard: tenor, soprano sax.

Title: Home: The Columbia, MO Sessions, Vol. 1 | Year Released: 2014 | Record Label: Mizzou Jazz


Tags

Related Video

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Saluting Sgt. Pepper CD/LP/Track Review Saluting Sgt. Pepper
by Karl Ackermann
Published: June 22, 2017
Read Thick as Thieves CD/LP/Track Review Thick as Thieves
by Jack Bowers
Published: June 22, 2017
Read Dream Within A Dream CD/LP/Track Review Dream Within A Dream
by Ian Patterson
Published: June 22, 2017
Read Live At The High Noon CD/LP/Track Review Live At The High Noon
by Doug Collette
Published: June 22, 2017
Read As It Should Be: Ballads 2 CD/LP/Track Review As It Should Be: Ballads 2
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: June 21, 2017
Read Karoujite CD/LP/Track Review Karoujite
by John Eyles
Published: June 21, 2017
Read "Return" CD/LP/Track Review Return
by Jack Bowers
Published: July 24, 2016
Read "Backlog" CD/LP/Track Review Backlog
by Mark Sullivan
Published: May 17, 2017
Read "The Motorman's Son" CD/LP/Track Review The Motorman's Son
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: February 18, 2017
Read "Strunkin'" CD/LP/Track Review Strunkin'
by Jerome Wilson
Published: November 18, 2016
Read "Playing the 60s" CD/LP/Track Review Playing the 60s
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: January 19, 2017
Read "Ullr" CD/LP/Track Review Ullr
by Mark Corroto
Published: February 8, 2017

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

Develop a column, write album reviews, cover live shows, or conduct interviews.