524

The University of North Texas One O'Clock Lab Band: Lab 2003

Jack Bowers By

Sign in to view read count
Another year, another strenuous final exam for the University of North Texas One O’Clock Lab Band. What’s the grade? Let’s see . . . well (this is becoming rather monotonous), after adding up the score, it appears to be an unequivocal A-plus. In other words, the One O’Clock Band, now more than half a century old, continues to play an error-free game, as it has for most of those years.

Director Neil Slater, never one to tone down a test, hurls the students into deep water without hesitation, virtually daring them to sink or swim as he says take “That!” And take it they do, easily outflanking Slater’s esoteric opening gambit and splashing eagerly on to problem No. 2, baritone saxophonist Aaron Lington’s shadowy “Black Widow.” No missteps there, nor are there any on pianist Neil Shah’s sermonesque “Horizon,” saxophonist Tyler Summers’ light-hearted “Changing Spaces,” guitarist Kevin Brunkhorst’s gregarious swinger, “If Steve McQueen Were Here,” or Lington’s shimmering ballad, “Translucence.” If there were any lapses to that point they’d have only themselves to blame, as each of those numbers was composed by a member of the ensemble.

Moving to less familiar territory, the band crosses swords with Stephen Smith’s breezy “Paradigm Shift,” Joel Fountain’s picturesque “Nature vs. Nurture” and Stephen Anderson’s aggressive “Rhyth Migot.” Again, no sweat — more akin to a leisurely stroll in the park than a grueling marathon race, thanks to the ensemble’s razor-keen brass and reeds and stalwart rhythm section ( Shah, Brunkhorst, bassist Matt Wigton and drummer Stockton Helbing).

The soloists are no less impressive. They include Helbing, tenor Clay Pritchard and trumpeter Jay Jennings (“That”), Lington and trombonist David Winslow (“Black Widow”), Wigton and alto Summers (“Horizon”), Summers (soprano) and Shah (“Spaces”), Brunkhorst, Helbing and tenor Tom Luer (“Steve McQueen”), Shah and Luer (“Translucence”), Pritchard and Luer (“Paradigm”), Shah, flugel Ken Edwards and alto Stephen Clothier (“Nature vs. Nurture”), Edwards (trumpet), Pritchard, Wigton and Helbing (“Rhyth Migot”).

While I wouldn’t go quite as far as alumnus “Bones” Malone who declares in the liner notes that UNT’s One O’Clock Band is “better than any professional band in existence today,” it is nonetheless a splendid ensemble with no apparent weaknesses, and Lab 2003 reinforces its stature as one of the country’s preeminent college-level big bands.


Track Listing: That; The Black Widow; Horizon; Changing Spaces; If Steve McQueen Were Here; Translucence; Paradigm Shifts; Nature vs. Nurture; Rhyth Migot (71:54.

Personnel: Neil Slater, director; Tyler Summers, Stephen Clothier, Clay Pritchard, Tom Luer, Aaron Lington, reeds; Dave Anderson, Zach Heffley, Ken McGill, Jay Jennings, Ken Edwards, trumpet; Jeff Valentine, David Winslow, Adam Jensen, trombone; Bryan English, Dan West, bass trombone; Neil Shah, piano; Kevin Brunkhorst, guitar; Matt Wigton, bass; Stockton Helbing, drums.

Title: Lab 2003 | Year Released: 2004 | Record Label: North Texas Jazz


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read For the Love of You CD/LP/Track Review For the Love of You
by Jack Bowers
Published: October 21, 2017
Read Recent Developments CD/LP/Track Review Recent Developments
by John Sharpe
Published: October 21, 2017
Read Triple Double CD/LP/Track Review Triple Double
by Glenn Astarita
Published: October 21, 2017
Read Agrima CD/LP/Track Review Agrima
by Jerome Wilson
Published: October 21, 2017
Read The Study of Touch CD/LP/Track Review The Study of Touch
by Karl Ackermann
Published: October 20, 2017
Read Another North CD/LP/Track Review Another North
by Roger Farbey
Published: October 19, 2017
Read "It Will Come" CD/LP/Track Review It Will Come
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: April 16, 2017
Read "Wild Lines: Improvising Emily Dickinson" CD/LP/Track Review Wild Lines: Improvising Emily Dickinson
by Roger Farbey
Published: August 27, 2017
Read "Point and Line" CD/LP/Track Review Point and Line
by Nenad Georgievski
Published: July 7, 2017
Read "Buoyancy" CD/LP/Track Review Buoyancy
by Karl Ackermann
Published: October 29, 2016
Read "Tipico" CD/LP/Track Review Tipico
by Mark Corroto
Published: February 7, 2017
Read "Evolution" CD/LP/Track Review Evolution
by Greg Simmons
Published: April 23, 2017

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

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