113

The USC Thornton School of Music: Studio Jazz Band 2000

Jack Bowers By

Sign in to view read count
I'd have liked nothing better than to list the personnel on Studio Jazz Band 2000, but the album's graphics (small red type on black background) are so poorly conceived that doing so would have required a magnifying glass and the better part of a day, which was asking too much. Thankfully, that's about the only blemish defacing an otherwise untarnished recital by one of the country's leading college-level Jazz ensembles, which doesn't record often but definitely makes the most of every visit to the studio and / or concert hall. The album's title is slightly misleading, as only four of its dozen selections were recorded in 2000, four others in 1996, two in '95 (one of them in concert) and one each in '98 and '99. But as the quality never varies (it's outstanding all the way) the actual recording dates are unimportant. What is meaningful is the music itself, which is seldom less than inspiring — and would have been almost as marvelous even without the ensemble's notable guest artists, pianist Bob Florence ("Earth"), trombonist Bill Watrous ("Slightly Off the Ground," "Purple Porpoise Parkway"), trumpeter Marvin Stamm ("My Funny Valentine"), drummer Louie Bellson ("Drum Foolery") and vocalists Carmen Bradford ("Young and Foolish") and Barbara Morrison ("You Go to My Head") who make it a breezy twosome on Mercer Ellington's "Things Ain't What They Used to Be." The SJB's enterprising students seem to have no trouble keeping pace with their more experienced guests who are galvanized in turn by the energy and enthusiasm of their youthful hosts. Bellson, that most musical of big-band drummers, is at the top of his game on his composition "Drum Foolery" while Watrous uses triple-tonguing, multiphonics and other clever devices to craft breathtaking solos on Tom Kubis's "Off the Ground" and "Parkway." John Thomas, an associate professor in the USC Jazz Studies department and director of the ensemble, gives the young scholars memorable trumpet lessons on "When I Fall in Love" and "Blow Your Horn" (the last written by Bellson for trumpeter Clark Terry) and Stamm does likewise on "Valentine." Bellson wrote "Quiet Riot" which features the SJB's Trevor Lawrence on drums with pianist Donald Vega, trumpeter Dale Carley and tenor Bill Prouten. Florence, who arranged the bustling opener, Stanley Turrentine's "Sugar" (solos by pianist Elijah Brueggemann and baritone Garret Kobse), is undoubtedly one of the most tasteful pianists on "Earth," as he proves again on his composition of that name. Other topnotch student soloists include alto Evan Francis ("Young and Foolish"), trumpeter Brian Swartz ("Slightly Off the Ground") and tenor Phil Vieux ("Off the Ground," "Purple Porpoise Parkway"). A glistening gem of an album, well-recorded, splendidly performed and warmly recommended.

Contact:Shelly Berg, School of Music, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA 90089-0851. E-mail sheltberg@aol.com


Track Listing: Sugar; Earth; Quiet Riot; Young and Foolish; You Go to My Head; Things Ain't What They Used to Be; When I Fall in Love; Slightly Off the Ground; My Funny Valentine; Purple Porpoise Parkway; Blow Your Horn; Drum Foolery (65:48).

Personnel: The USC Thornton School of Music Jazz Band directed by John Thomas with special guests Bob Florence, piano; Marvin Stamm, trumpet; Bill Watrous, trombone; Louie Bellson, drums; Carmen Bradford, Barbara Morrison, vocals.

Year Released: 2002 | Record Label: USC | Style: Big Band


Shop

More Articles

Read Acceptance CD/LP/Track Review Acceptance
by Tyran Grillo
Published: February 26, 2017
Read The Wild CD/LP/Track Review The Wild
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: February 26, 2017
Read This Is Nate Najar CD/LP/Track Review This Is Nate Najar
by Edward Blanco
Published: February 26, 2017
Read Joy Comes Back CD/LP/Track Review Joy Comes Back
by James Nadal
Published: February 26, 2017
Read Apocalypse CD/LP/Track Review Apocalypse
by Julian Derry
Published: February 26, 2017
Read The Sound of Surprise: Live at the Side Door CD/LP/Track Review The Sound of Surprise: Live at the Side Door
by Edward Blanco
Published: February 25, 2017
Read "The Coyote" CD/LP/Track Review The Coyote
by Mark Sullivan
Published: September 5, 2016
Read "Concentric Circles" CD/LP/Track Review Concentric Circles
by Jerome Wilson
Published: July 30, 2016
Read "Mortality" CD/LP/Track Review Mortality
by Glenn Astarita
Published: September 11, 2016
Read "HUJE 2015" CD/LP/Track Review HUJE 2015
by Jack Bowers
Published: May 2, 2016
Read "Punch" CD/LP/Track Review Punch
by Roger Farbey
Published: June 29, 2016
Read "Navigation Without Numbers" CD/LP/Track Review Navigation Without Numbers
by Karl Ackermann
Published: March 3, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: Jazz Near You | GET IT  

Support our sponsor

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!

Buy it!