220

Shenandoah University Jazz Ensemble: SU Jazz 2005

Jack Bowers By

Sign in to view read count
Shenandoah University Jazz Ensemble: SU Jazz 2005 Back in the days not long ago when Joe Eckert was directing the US Air Force's highest-ranking big band, the Airmen of Note, he spent some of his spare hours in Winchester, Virginia supervising the Shenandoah University Jazz Ensemble, and if the ensemble's debut recording is a valid barometer of its progress, that was time well spent. Eckert is now SU's full-time director of Jazz Studies, and under his astute guidance the ensemble has become a taut and swinging group, able to stand its ground against similar bands anywhere in the country.

As a hands-on CO, Eckert isn't averse to teaching by example, as he does with a glossy alto solo on Bob Mintzer's charming arrangement of the Vernon Duke/E.Y. Harburg standard "April in Paris. Elsewhere, he lets the students fend for themselves, which they do quite well on seven original compositions, some of which are better known than others. Besides arranging "Paris, Mintzer, who appeared in concert with the band shortly before the album was recorded, wrote "Go Go and "Frankie's Tune, each of which, in my opinion, leans too heavily on a rock beat, as do Alan Baylock's "Two Seconds to Midnight and John Fedchock's arrangement of Don Grolnick's "Pools. But that's a minor complaint, as each of them has much to offer and is capably performed by the SU undergrads.

The album opens with Benny Carter's delightful "Wiggle Walk and also includes John Coltrane's pensive "Central Park West (arranged by Fedchock) and Thad Jones' ambling "Big Dipper. Soloists are about what one would expect, decent albeit not overly creative. Tenor saxophonist Janet Longerbeam is a standout on "Central Park and nearly as sharp on "Dipper, "Pools and "Frankie's Tune, while drummer Nick Kirk is impressive throughout.

Eckert promises that this is the first in a series of yearly albums by the SU big band, and says in a letter that accompanied SU Jazz 2005 that the second one has already been recorded and should soon be released. It goes without saying that we look forward to hearing more from this bright and rapidly maturing ensemble.


Track Listing: The Wiggle Walk; Central Park West; Go Go; Big Dipper; April in Paris; Two Seconds to Midnight; Pools; Frankie

Personnel: Joe Eckert: director; Charles Hindt, Alex Serio, Gary Hofstetter, Maury Williams, Jordan Hullinger: trumpet; Ashley Baker, Tim Andrulonis: alto saxophone; Janet Longerbeam, Bryce Anderson: tenor saxophone; Craig Schenker: baritone saxophone; Joshua Clue, Sam Rock, Eric Woolley, James Martin: trombone; Leeland Davis: piano; Kazuma Sone: guitar; Matt Berry: bass; Nick Kirk: drums.

Title: SU Jazz 2005 | Year Released: 2006 | Record Label: SU Jazz


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Honey And Salt CD/LP/Track Review Honey And Salt
by Mark Corroto
Published: August 22, 2017
Read To the Bone CD/LP/Track Review To the Bone
by Geno Thackara
Published: August 22, 2017
Read Flesh & Bone CD/LP/Track Review Flesh & Bone
by Troy Collins
Published: August 22, 2017
Read Generations CD/LP/Track Review Generations
by Jerome Wilson
Published: August 22, 2017
Read 90 Going On Amazing CD/LP/Track Review 90 Going On Amazing
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: August 21, 2017
Read Let There Be Life, Love and Laughter CD/LP/Track Review Let There Be Life, Love and Laughter
by Victor L. Schermer
Published: August 21, 2017
Read "Fountain Of Youth" CD/LP/Track Review Fountain Of Youth
by David A. Orthmann
Published: July 15, 2017
Read "Retrorespective" CD/LP/Track Review Retrorespective
by Phillip Woolever
Published: June 15, 2017
Read "Soulmation" CD/LP/Track Review Soulmation
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: April 22, 2017
Read "Sonder" CD/LP/Track Review Sonder
by Troy Dostert
Published: August 17, 2017
Read "Silent Voices" CD/LP/Track Review Silent Voices
by Nicholas F. Mondello
Published: August 4, 2017
Read "Jazz Marathon 2" CD/LP/Track Review Jazz Marathon 2
by Jack Bowers
Published: March 20, 2017

Sponsor: JANA PROJECT | LEARN MORE  

Support our sponsor

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

Develop a column, write album reviews, cover live shows, or conduct interviews.