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University of North Texas: Anniversary Package; Lab 2017

Read "Anniversary Package; Lab 2017" reviewed by Jack Bowers

To mark the seventieth anniversary of its establishment, the Division of Jazz Studies at the University of North Texas in Denton has issued superb CD compilations honoring four of its distinguished educators / bandleaders in addition to Lab 2017 by the university's flagship One O'Clock Lab Band, the fiftieth annual recording by that widely celebrated ensemble. The compilations, consisting of ten CDs in all, salute former faculty stalwarts Neil Slater, Jim Riggs and Jay Saunders along with present faculty member ...

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UNT Two O'Clock Lab Band: Kind of Two

Read "Kind of Two" reviewed by Jack Bowers

The University of North Texas, home to the country's oldest, most honored and, many would say, explicitly outstanding Jazz Studies program, has a number of topnotch big bands in the stable, each of which is named after its specific rehearsal time. While the One O'Clock Lab Band, which has been recorded most often, is best known among them, the distance between the top two or three is so slender as to be immaterial. Hard on the heels of the One ...

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University of North Texas One O'Clock Lab Band: Lab 2013

Read "Lab 2013" reviewed by Jack Bowers

The University of North Texas is situated in Denton, a city of roughly 120,000 less than an hour's drive northwest from Dallas / Fort Worth. To students at UNT as well as its year-round residents, Denton is home, even if in the former case a home away from home. And speaking of home, the university is home to the country's oldest and most celebrated Jazz Studies program, anchored by the superlative One O'Clock Lab Band whose members are special and ...

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University of North Texas Two O'Clock Lab Band: The Best of the Big O

Read "The Best of the Big O" reviewed by Jack Bowers

The challenge when reviewing an album by any of the University of North Texas' superlative jazz ensembles is to find something to criticize. Perhaps you can; I can't. This is decisively true of the seventh recording by the UNT Two O'Clock Lab Band under the able direction of James Riggs, who has been at the helm for more than twenty-six years. There may be a misstep or two along the way, but none that my unrefined ears can detect. While ...

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University of North Texas: (Counter-Part) Chamber Jazz, Vol. 1

Read "(Counter-Part) Chamber Jazz, Vol. 1" reviewed by Jack Bowers

When one thinks of Jazz at the University of North Texas, it's usually in connection with one or more of UNT's exemplary big bands, which have been winning awards and earning applause for nearly half a century. But there's much more to the school's Jazz Studies program than synchronous reeds and shouting brass, as this largely engaging album of chamber jazz affirms.

The four groups represented here range from trio to sextet, all supervised by UNT professor Stefan Karlsson, a ...

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University of North Texas One O'Clock Lab Band: Lab 2004

Read "Lab 2004" reviewed by Jack Bowers

Hard as it may be to believe, this is the twenty-third annual “Lab" album produced by UNT's preeminent One O'Clock Lab Band during Neil Slater's tenure as director, one for each year he has been at the helm. Even harder to accept is that the albums keep getting better with each passing year; Lab 2004 is a corker from start to finish, perhaps one of the finest the band has ever released. (But we say that every year, don't we?) ...

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

Read "Lab 2003" reviewed by Jack Bowers

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, ...

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The University of North Texas Three O'Clock Lab Band: Spring '99

Read "Spring '99" reviewed by Jack Bowers

As many big–band enthusists know by now, the University of North Texas names its various Jazz ensembles according to their regular rehearsal times. The first to appear on records was the widely acclaimed One O’Clock Lab Band, followed a few years ago by the Two O’Clock Band and at last by the Three O’Clock Band, which (as far as we can determine) makes its recording debut with Spring ’99. If these are UNT’s third–stringers, all I can say is, if ...

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The University of North Texas Two O'Clock Jazz Band: A Salute to Benny Carter

Read "A Salute to Benny Carter" reviewed by Jack Bowers

After more than half a century, the tradition of excellence continues at the University of North Texas in Denton with this splendid new release by the school’s Two O’Clock Jazz Band (the various UNT ensembles are named after their daily rehearsal times). While the famed One O’Clock Band is the best known and most widely recorded of the several UNT ensembles, the Two O’Clock Band proves on this earnest salute to celebrated composer / saxophonist / trumpeter / bandleader Benny ...


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