All About Jazz

Home » Articles » CD/LP/Track Review

107

University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music Jazz Ensemble: Serenade in Blue

By

Sign in to view read count
The Sea Breeze label holds a preeminent position when it comes to recording the performances of contemporary big bands. One of the more fertile areas for this jazz genre is at those colleges and universities that have active jazz programs. Now comes the University of Cincinnati's Jazz Ensemble headed by its director, Rick VanMatre, with a program of tightly arranged music, mostly standards, played with vim and vigor by very good young players. One of the attributes which sets this group apart from other college big bands is their use of dynamics which adds to the excitement of their presentation. The chart for "Mean to Me" is taut to the point of almost being agitated. Bryan Hardester's bass trombone, an instrument not usually in the solo spotlight, helps make this a great track. The group is also willing to take the time to thoroughly explore all possibilities of these familiar pieces. The title tune gets a seven plus minute work out with Eli Hludzik's drums pushing the group onto further heights. This outfit also has some exceptional instrumentalists. Listen to Brian Hogg's modern tenor on Kenny Barron's "Voyage" as he and the band exert high voltage tension laying the ground work for the entrance of Russ Haynes' trumpet. The group organizes itself into a smaller group for Ed Breazeale's "The Big Mistake", which comes close to avant-garde big band playing with its dissonant rhythms. Blue Wisp Bug Band drummer John von Ohlen lends his talents to the group for a couple of tracks.

It's clear that Director VanMatre is addicted to the Count Basie groups of the of the late 1960's and early 1970's which featured arrangements by Chico O'Farrell and Sammy Nestico. VanMatre uses the same mold to fashion his current outfit. Credit also has to go to his faculty for polishing the raw talent of these young jazz artists who hold down the band's chairs. This is exuberant music at its modern best.


Track Listing: Mean to Me; Serenade in Blue; If I Should Lose You; Voyage; Gloria's Step; Umezu; In a Sentimental Mood; The Days of Wine and Roses; The Big Mistake; The Thrill Is Gone*

Personnel: Rick VanMatre - Director; Andrew Neff, Pat Landis - Alto Sax; Brian Hogg, Ben Crandall - Tenor Sax; Bill Burns - Baritone Sax; Scott Belck, Russ Haynes, Todd Hartman, Chris Nasrallah - Trumpet; Jim Pelz, David Horger, Michael Townley - Trombone; Bryan Hardester - Bass Trombone; Andy Szucs - Guitar; Alex Smith - Piano; Joe Policastro, Scott Ritchie - Bass; Eli Hludzik, Ed Breazeale, John Von Ohlen - Drums; Mary Ellen Tanner - Vocals*

Title: Serenade in Blue | Year Released: 2001 | Record Label: Sea Breeze Jazz

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

Related Articles

Read Displaced Diaspora CD/LP/Track Review
Displaced Diaspora
by Chris May
Published: October 19, 2018
Read In Real Time CD/LP/Track Review
In Real Time
by Jerome Wilson
Published: October 19, 2018
Read Freebird CD/LP/Track Review
Freebird
by Glenn Astarita
Published: October 19, 2018
Read The Dream Thief CD/LP/Track Review
The Dream Thief
by Mike Jurkovic
Published: October 19, 2018
Read Heuristics CD/LP/Track Review
Heuristics
by Glenn Astarita
Published: October 19, 2018
Read Subtle Disguise CD/LP/Track Review
Subtle Disguise
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: October 18, 2018
Read "Avant-Garde Party Music" CD/LP/Track Review Avant-Garde Party Music
by Mark Corroto
Published: October 26, 2017
Read "Rhapsody" CD/LP/Track Review Rhapsody
by Glenn Astarita
Published: May 23, 2018
Read "64:38 Radio Full Liv(f)e" CD/LP/Track Review 64:38 Radio Full Liv(f)e
by Mark Corroto
Published: December 25, 2017
Read "Unloved" CD/LP/Track Review Unloved
by Ian Patterson
Published: December 19, 2017
Read "g a b b r o" CD/LP/Track Review g a b b r o
by Mark Corroto
Published: November 5, 2017
Read "Jubilation! Celebrating Cannonball Adderley" CD/LP/Track Review Jubilation! Celebrating Cannonball Adderley
by Glenn Astarita
Published: May 20, 2018