135

The Drake University Jazz Ensemble One: Rush Hour

Jack Bowers By

Sign in to view read count
The Drake University Jazz Ensemble One: Rush Hour If there were any lingering doubts after Waxwing, its impressive debut album, that the Drake University Jazz Ensemble is ready for prime time, those misgivings are quickly laid to rest on Rush Hour, which underlines the Des Moines, Iowa–based band’s status as one of the country’s up–and–coming college–level Jazz ensembles. Director Andrew Classen has clearly worked hard to sculpt his underclassmen into a single–minded unit, and the effort has paid handsome dividends (for a conspicuous example, listen to the awesome trumpets–only passage on Frank Mantooth’s deft arrangement of “Cherokee”). The one element that seems lacking, at this point in time, is a soloist who can turn anyone’s head. That’s not to suggest that the ensemble’s improvisers are less than earnest, only that none of them rises above that and advances toward the realm of exciting. Aside from that modest blemish, and an opening number (Classen’s “I–80 Shuffle”) that might have been better shuffled midway down the road, Rush Hour is a splendid example of well–tempered and invigorating big–band Jazz. The ensemble plunges headlong into Duke Ellington’s “Rockin’ in Rhythm” and son Mercer Ellington’s “Things Ain’t What They Used to Be” before facing down Sammy Nestico’s walking arrangement of “All of Me,” Arturo Sandoval’s hot–tempered “Caribeño” (arranged by Classen), Bill Holman’s tasteful adaptation of Thelonius Monk’s “Ruby, My Dear,” the aforementioned “Cherokee,” Thad Jones’s deeply–grooved “Second Race” and Dizzy Gillespie’s lyrical masterwork, “Tanga” (arranged by Mark Taylor). The rhythm section is quick and sure–handed, especially pianist Steve Gilbertson and bassists Nick Anderson (“Things,” “Cherokee,” “Ruby,” “Caribeño”) and Andy Rader, while brass and reeds confirm their skill and maneuverability at every bend in the road. Among the soloists, Gilbertson, trumpeter Chris Strohmaier and tenor Jaime Canepa are the sharpest — and most frequently heard. An admirable second album by a rapidly maturing Jazz ensemble.

Contact:Andrew Classen, director of Jazz Studies, Drake University, 2507 University Avenue, Des Moines, IA 50311. Phone 515–271–3785; e–mail andrew.classen@drake.edu


Track Listing: I

Personnel: Andrew Classen, director; Ryan Leatherman, Andy Trachsel, Michael Hart, alto sax; Jaime Canepa, tenor sax, flute, clarinet; Sean Falls, tenor sax; Jennifer Chase, baritone sax, tenor sax (

Title: Rush Hour | Year Released: 2001


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Day After Day CD/LP/Track Review Day After Day
by John Eyles
Published: July 21, 2017
Read We Know Not What We Do CD/LP/Track Review We Know Not What We Do
by Glenn Astarita
Published: July 21, 2017
Read Slade Alive! CD/LP/Track Review Slade Alive!
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: July 21, 2017
Read Hope CD/LP/Track Review Hope
by Karl Ackermann
Published: July 21, 2017
Read The Better Angels of Our Nature CD/LP/Track Review The Better Angels of Our Nature
by Karl Ackermann
Published: July 20, 2017
Read What Brought You Here? CD/LP/Track Review What Brought You Here?
by Troy Dostert
Published: July 20, 2017
Read "Live At Blues Alley" CD/LP/Track Review Live At Blues Alley
by Chris M. Slawecki
Published: August 4, 2016
Read "Jazz Marathon 2" CD/LP/Track Review Jazz Marathon 2
by Jack Bowers
Published: March 20, 2017
Read "Janus" CD/LP/Track Review Janus
by Budd Kopman
Published: November 1, 2016
Read "Out Of The Blue" CD/LP/Track Review Out Of The Blue
by Mark Sullivan
Published: October 15, 2016
Read "Les Liaisons Dangereuses 1960" CD/LP/Track Review Les Liaisons Dangereuses 1960
by Mark Corroto
Published: May 29, 2017
Read "Imaginist" CD/LP/Track Review Imaginist
by Mike Jacobs
Published: December 1, 2016

Support All About Jazz: MAKE A PURCHASE  

Support our sponsor

Upgrade Today!

Musician? Boost your visibility at All About Jazz and drive traffic to your website with our Premium Profile service.

Donate!