220

Shenandoah University Jazz Ensemble: SU Jazz 2005

Jack Bowers By

Sign in to view read count
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 For the Love of You CD/LP/Track Review For the Love of You
by Jack Bowers
Published: October 21, 2017
Read Recent Developments CD/LP/Track Review Recent Developments
by John Sharpe
Published: October 21, 2017
Read Triple Double CD/LP/Track Review Triple Double
by Glenn Astarita
Published: October 21, 2017
Read Agrima CD/LP/Track Review Agrima
by Jerome Wilson
Published: October 21, 2017
Read The Study of Touch CD/LP/Track Review The Study of Touch
by Karl Ackermann
Published: October 20, 2017
Read Another North CD/LP/Track Review Another North
by Roger Farbey
Published: October 19, 2017
Read "Sedimental You" CD/LP/Track Review Sedimental You
by Jerome Wilson
Published: October 21, 2016
Read "The Spirit Of Trane" CD/LP/Track Review The Spirit Of Trane
by Roger Farbey
Published: October 4, 2017
Read "Lacy Pool_2" CD/LP/Track Review Lacy Pool_2
by Glenn Astarita
Published: June 14, 2017
Read "Sanctuary" CD/LP/Track Review Sanctuary
by Budd Kopman
Published: November 16, 2016
Read "Live At the Stone" CD/LP/Track Review Live At the Stone
by Karl Ackermann
Published: November 29, 2016
Read "Cinema Spiral" CD/LP/Track Review Cinema Spiral
by Troy Collins
Published: October 22, 2016

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

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