139

Howard University Jazz Ensemble: HUJE '98

Jack Bowers By

Sign in to view read count
Howard University Jazz Ensemble: HUJE '98 The Howard University Jazz Ensemble from the heart of the nation’s capital continues a long tradition of recording once each year with HUJE ’98, which showcases the ensemble on nine tracks and the eight–member Jazztet on four. Howard has served as a launching pad for such talents as pianist Geri Allen and her trumpet–playing husband, Wallace Roney, and each year director Fred Irby III seems to uncover one or more promising players who appear poised to carry on the tradition. A couple of seasons ago pianist Raymond Angry and saxophonists LaRon Land and Gene Smith brightened the landscape; this year’s luminaries include trumpeter Kyle Funn, tenor saxophonist Joseph Berryman and drummer Clyde Adams II (all back from ’97), trombonist Reginald Cyntje and pianists Janelle Gill and Damien Sneed. Berryman, Cyntje, Gill, Adams and bassist Kris Funn do double duty, performing in the ensemble and Jazztet, whose other members are trumpeter Michael Allan Fitzhugh, guitarist A. Jermaine Mobley and vocalist Maya Orr. Cyntje wrote three of the Jazztet’s selections (“Swinging in Time,” “Southern Belle,” “Mild Interpretations”), Mobley the other (“Solitaire”). This is the ninth disc by the ensemble in my collection, dating back to 1989, but the tradition stretches at least a decade beyond that; in fact, this latest recording includes a reprise from HUJE ’85 with guest tenor saxophonist Frank Foster of Basie fame enlivening his own composition, “4–5–6.” Berryman and Kyle Funn are the soloists on the opener, a bluesy rendition of Bobby Timmons’ “Dat Dere,” Funn and pianist Gill share the spotlight on Foster’s “Shiny Stockings” and Funn’s mellow flugelhorn embellishes Ellington’s “Prelude to a Kiss” before Foster’s feature. A four–member vocal group is heard on Bobby Caldwell’s “What You Won’t Do for Love.” The “Roberta Flack Medley” ( First Time Ever I Saw Your Face/Where Is the Love/Killing Me Softly/Feel Like Making Love ), arranged by Eugene Thorne, is a surprisingly effective showcase for the ensemble, completing its part of the program on a high note after Mark Taylor’s Latinized version of George Shearing’s “Lullaby of Birdland” (solos by Adams and alto Joseph Batiste), his sensuous arrangement of Neal Hefti’s “Girl Talk” (Gill, Cyntje) and Frank Wess’ soulful take on Ray Brown’s “Dejection Blues” (Cyntje, trumpeter Donvonté McCoy, pianist Sneed). The Jazztet also plays in a straight–ahead manner with a definite Jazz Messengers slant and respectable solos by all hands. Irby apparently won’t let these students near the classroom (studio) until they’ve done their homework, and the effort pays off. This is another exemplary recording by one of the country’s foremost college–level Jazz ensembles.

Track listing: Dat Dere; Shiny Stockings; Prelude to a Kiss; 4–5–6 (reprise from HUJE ’85); What You Won’t Do for Love; Lullaby of Birdland; Girl Talk; Dejection Blues; Roberta Flack Medley; Singing in Time; Solitaire; Southern Belle; Mild Interpretations (73:02).


Personnel:

Jazz Ensemble

Title: HUJE '98 | Year Released: 1999 | Record Label: HUJE


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Towards Language CD/LP/Track Review Towards Language
by John Eyles
Published: June 23, 2017
Read The Romeo and Juliet Project CD/LP/Track Review The Romeo and Juliet Project
by Jack Bowers
Published: June 23, 2017
Read Saluting Sgt. Pepper CD/LP/Track Review Saluting Sgt. Pepper
by Roger Farbey
Published: June 23, 2017
Read Crystal Machine CD/LP/Track Review Crystal Machine
by Glenn Astarita
Published: June 23, 2017
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 "Eros" CD/LP/Track Review Eros
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: September 15, 2016
Read "United" CD/LP/Track Review United
by Mark Sullivan
Published: March 23, 2017
Read "King For A Day" CD/LP/Track Review King For A Day
by Glenn Astarita
Published: June 3, 2017
Read "Day and Night" CD/LP/Track Review Day and Night
by Jack Bowers
Published: May 18, 2017
Read "Elegy" CD/LP/Track Review Elegy
by John Kelman
Published: January 20, 2017
Read "The Evolution Suite" CD/LP/Track Review The Evolution Suite
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: October 4, 2016

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

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