Home » Jazz Articles » Album Review » The University of Northern Iowa Jazz Band One: Leap of Faith

109

The University of Northern Iowa Jazz Band One: Leap of Faith

By

Sign in to view read count
The University of Northern Iowa Jazz Band One: Leap of Faith
Whenever a swimmer or runner shaves a couple hundredths of a second off some world record or another I can't help but think, "Is there no limit? How fast can they go?" And as I listen to some of today's top­level university Jazz ensembles a similar thought intrudes - "Is there no limit? How well can they possibly play?" It has become more difficult with each passing year to separate the amateurs from the professionals, as technically speaking, at least, the undergrads are as proficient as one could envision while their improvisational awareness grows ever more resourceful and sophisticated. A case in point is Leap of Faith, the latest offering from director Bob Washut's well­rehearsed Jazz Band One at the University of Northern Iowa. In a blindfold test, the UNI ensemble could easily persuade almost anyone that he or she was listening to a seasoned group of working pros. Everyone is that impressive, pianist Jason Danielson especially so on Bob Florence's bluesy "Earth," Benny Carter's Basie­like "Vine Street Rumble" and elsewhere. Washut wrote "The Sage" for the late Paul "Doc" Tenney, a long­time UNI booster to whom the album is dedicated, and arranged Dick Oatts' dashing "Leap of Faith" and Bill Frisell's "What Do We Do?" UNI alums Paul McKee and J.C. Sanford composed "One for Two" and "Millennium Limbo," respectively. Completing the program are Bob Brookmeyer's merry "Celebration Jig" and Maria Schneider's tasteful arrangement of John Coltrane's aggressive "Giant Steps," the last recorded in concert - as was "Earth" - and conducted by Schneider herself. UNI faculty member / tenor saxophonist Chris Merz is featured on "The Sage," guitarist Billy LeGrand on "What Do We Do?" and "Millennium Limbo." Other soloists of note include alto Rick Stone, trombonist Mike Berven, tenor Nick Thompson, baritone Brian Moore and drummer Phil Martin (who supervises an able­bodied rhythm section that includes LeGrand, Danielson and bassist Jay Foote). If there's a downside it lies in the sixteen­minutes­plus between "Celebration Jig" and "Earth," as I found much of "What Do We Do?" and "Millennium Limbo" rather lackluster* (*personal opinion, not to be taken as gospel; listen for yourself). Even so, they are exceptionally well­performed, as is everything else on this generally impressive album by one of the country's leading university­based Jazz ensembles.

Contact:Dr. Robert Washut, 110 Russell Hall, University of Northern Iowa, Cedar Falls, IA 50614­0246. Phone 319­273­6431; e­mail [email protected]. Web site, www.uni.edu/jazzstudies

Track Listing

Leap of Faith; One for Two; Vine Street Rumble; The Sage; Celebration Jig; What Do We Do?; Millennium Limbo; Earth; Giant Steps (66:32).

Personnel

Leap of Faith Orchestra
multi-instrumentalist

Robert Washut, director; Rick Stone, alto, soprano sax, clarinet, flute; Dave Oline, alto, soprano sax, clarinet; Greg Aker, tenor, soprano sax, flute; Nick Thompson, tenor, soprano sax, clarinet; Brian Moore, baritone sax, bass clarinet, flute; Brandon Lewis, Scott Hagarty, Kristi Colton, Christian Petersen, Patrick Parker, trumpet; Mike Berven, Paul Rappaport, Christ Schmitz, trombone; Luke Pingel, bass trombone; Jason Danielson, piano, synthesizer; Billy LeGrand, guitar; Jay Foote, bass; Phil Martin, drums.

Album information

Title: Leap of Faith | Year Released: 2002 | Record Label: Sea Breeze Jazz

Comments


For the Love of Jazz
Get the Jazz Near You newsletter All About Jazz has been a pillar of jazz since 1995, championing it as an art form and, more importantly, supporting the musicians who create it. Our enduring commitment has made "AAJ" one of the most culturally important websites of its kind, read by hundreds of thousands of fans, musicians and industry figures every month.

You Can Help
To expand our coverage even further and develop new means to foster jazz discovery and connectivity we need your help. You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky ads plus provide access to future articles for a full year. This winning combination will vastly improve your AAJ experience and allow us to vigorously build on the pioneering work we first started in 1995. So enjoy an ad-free AAJ experience and help us remain a positive beacon for jazz by making a donation today.

Tags

More

Being Human
Lynne Arriale
Big Band Stories
Fredrik Nordström
Skyllumina
Ruth Goller

Popular

Compassion
Vijay Iyer
Jazz Hands
Bob James
Esengo
London Afrobeat Collective

Get more of a good thing!

Our weekly newsletter highlights our top stories, our special offers, and upcoming jazz events near you.