Learn How

We need your help in 2018

Support All About Jazz All About Jazz is looking for 1,000 backers to help fund our 2018 projects that directly support jazz. You can make this happen by purchasing ad space or by making a donation to our fund drive. In addition to completing every project (listed here), we'll also hide all Google ads and present exclusive content for a full year!

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 Bricks CD/LP/Track Review Bricks
by Glenn Astarita
Published: December 17, 2017
Read Makes the Heart to Sing: Jazz Hymns CD/LP/Track Review Makes the Heart to Sing: Jazz Hymns
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: December 16, 2017
Read Song of No Regrets CD/LP/Track Review Song of No Regrets
by Jack Bowers
Published: December 16, 2017
Read Sounding Tears CD/LP/Track Review Sounding Tears
by John Sharpe
Published: December 16, 2017
Read Lighthouse CD/LP/Track Review Lighthouse
by Glenn Astarita
Published: December 16, 2017
Read Kill The Boy CD/LP/Track Review Kill The Boy
by Chris Mosey
Published: December 16, 2017
Read "2nd Thoughts" CD/LP/Track Review 2nd Thoughts
by Mark Sullivan
Published: January 8, 2017
Read "Nature City" CD/LP/Track Review Nature City
by Henning Bolte
Published: March 23, 2017
Read "Reunion" CD/LP/Track Review Reunion
by John Sharpe
Published: March 31, 2017
Read "Nightfall" CD/LP/Track Review Nightfall
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: October 6, 2017
Read "Trip" CD/LP/Track Review Trip
by Jeff Winbush
Published: September 12, 2017
Read "Inside The Moment" CD/LP/Track Review Inside The Moment
by James Nadal
Published: June 21, 2017

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!