University of Northern Iowa Jazz Band One 2014-15: Local Color

Jack Bowers By

Sign in to view read count
In Local Color, the latest in a long series of splendid albums by the University of Northern Iowa's Jazz Band One, color is one of the primary ingredients; every number, in fact, is awash in radiant colors, from the prismatic opener, UNI alum Michael Conrad's "Gerry's Timepiece," to the chimerical closer, Curtis Fuller's dark-hued "The Egyptian." Between them are burnished original compositions by Brian Crew, Jack Cooper and Rick Hirsch; Wayne Shorter's well-grooved "Fee Fi Fo Fum," Eddie Harris' exuberant "Freedom Jazz Dance" and Kurt Weill / Ira Gershwin's elegant standard "My Ship," from the Broadway musical Lady in the Dark.

"I Broke the Dam," written and arranged by Jazz Band One's lead trombonist, Crew, uses star turns by brass, reeds and rhythm to set the stage for ardent solos by guitarist Elvis Phillips, alto saxophonist Ryan Middleton and drummer Chris Jensen leading to a high-spirited resolution that ends with a whimper. Cooper's eloquent tone poem "Amur in Her Heart" enlists the talents of Conrad (organ), guest trumpeter Justin Kisor and UNI faculty member Dr. Mitra Sadeghpour (voice) to weave its special brand of magic around an entrancing theme, while Hirsch's picturesque "Mirage" paints an irresistible picture of sand, sea and sky whose emphatic rhythms enfold robust statements by trombonist Paul Lichty, flutist / tenor saxophonist Sean Koga and trumpeter Jordan Boehm. After a leisurely introduction, "Gerry's Timepiece" settles into a more zestful groove that well suits Middleton's instinctive digressions on alto.

Crew, trumpeter Ryan Garmoe and vibraphonist Patrick Cunningham share solo honors on "Fee Fi Fo Fum." Koga (tenor) and Phillips are out front on "Freedom Jazz Dance," Lichty, Cunningham, Koga, Jensen and Boehm on "The Egyptian," while Garmoe's flugelhorn is showcased on "My Ship." The band as a whole is exemplary, and director Chris Merz deserves three cheers for having his young charges primed and ready to face the erraticisms of the recording studio. In sum, Local Color proves a worthy addition to UNI's growing catalog of admirable recordings.

Track Listing: Gerry’s Timepiece; Fee Fi Fo Fum; I Broke the Dam; Amur in Her Heart (for Oksana); Freedom Jazz Dance; Mirage; My Ship; The Egyptian.

Personnel: Chris Merz: director; Dan Meier: trumpet; Andrew Teutsch: trumpet; Ryan Garmoe: trumpet; Jordan Boehm: trumpet; Michael Prichard: trumpet; Ryan Middleton, Sam Bills, Sean Koga, Mark Northrup, Mason Meyers: saxophones, woodwinds; Brian Crew: trombone; Paul Lichty: trombone; Brent Mead: trombone; Thomas Rauch: trombone; Elvis Phillips: guitar; Seth Butler: piano; Riley Scheetz: bass; Chris Jensen: drums; Patrick Cunningham: vibraphone, percussion. Guests – Michael Conrad: composer (1), organ (4); Dr. Mitra Sadeghpour: voice (4); Justin Kisor: trumpet (4).

Title: Local Color | Year Released: 2016 | Record Label: Self Produced


comments powered by Disqus

Shop for Music

Start your music shopping from All About Jazz and you'll support us in the process. Learn how.

Related Articles

Read This Should Be Fun Album Reviews
This Should Be Fun
By David A. Orthmann
April 20, 2019
Read Transoceanico Album Reviews
By Patrick Burnette
April 20, 2019
Read Pete Seeger: The Smithsonian Folkways Collection Album Reviews
Pete Seeger: The Smithsonian Folkways Collection
By Jakob Baekgaard
April 20, 2019
Read Live in Newcastle, December 8, 1972 Album Reviews
Live in Newcastle, December 8, 1972
By John Kelman
April 19, 2019
Read HUJE 2018 Album Reviews
HUJE 2018
By Jack Bowers
April 19, 2019
Read Farallon Album Reviews
By Jerome Wilson
April 19, 2019
Read Burning Meditation Album Reviews
Burning Meditation
By John Sharpe
April 18, 2019