All About Jazz needs your help and we have a deal. Pay $20 and we'll hide those six pesky Google ads that appear on every page, plus this box and the slideout box on the right for a full year! You'll also fund website expansion.
Apparently, the word “predictable” isn’t in Bob Washut’s vocabulary, as one never knows quite what to expect from his award–winning Jazz Band One at the University of Northern Iowa. Just Us, the ensemble’s eighth recording (by our count), is wide–ranging and adventurous, to say the least, scanning the landscape from standard to avant–garde, swing to contemporary, bolero to blazer. What matters most, of course, is how well the band performs, and as always, Washut has his young scholars well–prepared and eager for combat. Once they’ve overrun and brought to its knees Joey Sellers’ monstrous “Epic Pepper Queen” with its formidable harmonics and treacherous contrapuntal passages, there’s never a doubt that they’ll emerge triumphant, and the rest of the program, strenuous as it may appear on paper, is swallowed as effortlessly as the proverbial “piece of cake.” Washut arranged the next two numbers, “Honey Boy” (on which the band paves a solid roadway for Mike Cramer’s funky guitar) and Jerome Kern’s classic, “Smoke Gets in Your Eyes,” the first of two impressive features for tenor saxophonist Dustin Bear (the other is Ellington’s “Oclupaca”). The avant–garde is represented by alto saxophonist Todd Munnik’s vigorous workout for reeds, “Nervous Tic,” an ostinato–based, odd–meter work on which each of the saxophonists improvises freely; the blazer by Matt Catingub’s frenetic “High Altotude” with Munnik and Rick Stone dueling at close quarters; the bolero by Chico O’Farrill’s “Pianitis” (showcasing Steve Shanley at the keyboard). Everyone has fun on Ronnie Cuber’s light–hearted treatment of Charles Mingus’ “Jelly Roll” before tenor saxophonist Doug Johns, who played in Washut’s first UNI ensemble in 1981, returns to sit in admirably for Benny Golson on Benny’s engaging love letter, “Along Came Betty.” The remaining number is a note–for–note re–creation (including solos) of Ellington’s “Cottontail.” While such facsimiles may be useful as academic exercises, I can’t see why anyone would bother to record them. Aside from that minor complaint, Just Us is another feather in the UNI ensemble’s cap and highly recommended.
Track listing: Epic Pepper Queen; Honey Boy; Smoke Gets in Your Eyes; Cottontail; Nervous Tic; High Altotude; Pianitis; Oclupaca; Jelly Roll; Along Came Betty (52:57).
I love jazz because with it I found my true voice. I have always sung since I was a very small child in school and church. And there have been many genre that I have enjoyed including spiritual, folk, country, latin, soca and pop
I love jazz because with it I found my true voice. I have always sung since I was a very small child in school and church. And there have been many genre that I have enjoyed including spiritual, folk, country, latin, soca and pop. But nothing has touched my artistic sensiblities like JAZZ! Two years ago I moved to Sarasota, FL where I renewed my focus on my singing career and I was so impressed with the quality, quantity and generousity of talented jazz musicains in the Suncoast area. I soon partnered with piano legend Billy Marcus and his trio with Don Mopsick and Stephen Bucholtz. What a blast working with these guys and having them back me up on my first jaz album, Here's To You... which was just released on October 1st. I can't wait to see where the coming year brings me! Check out syniacarrolljazz.com