All About Jazz

Home » Articles » CD/LP/Track Review

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

Related Articles

Read My Singing Fingers CD/LP/Track Review
My Singing Fingers
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: May 25, 2018
Read Ain't It Grand? CD/LP/Track Review
Ain't It Grand?
by Jack Bowers
Published: May 25, 2018
Read If Not Now, When? CD/LP/Track Review
If Not Now, When?
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: May 25, 2018
Read Perfectly Unhappy CD/LP/Track Review
Perfectly Unhappy
by Gareth Thompson
Published: May 25, 2018
Read Sorrows & Triumphs CD/LP/Track Review
Sorrows & Triumphs
by Jerome Wilson
Published: May 25, 2018
Read Half Light CD/LP/Track Review
Half Light
by Karl Ackermann
Published: May 24, 2018
Read "Necessary Arrangements" CD/LP/Track Review Necessary Arrangements
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: February 17, 2018
Read "Slade Alive!" CD/LP/Track Review Slade Alive!
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: July 21, 2017
Read "Mandala" CD/LP/Track Review Mandala
by Samuel Stroup
Published: December 20, 2017
Read "Sorrows & Triumphs" CD/LP/Track Review Sorrows & Triumphs
by Jerome Wilson
Published: May 25, 2018
Read "Two in a Box" CD/LP/Track Review Two in a Box
by Jack Bowers
Published: September 20, 2017
Read "Submerged" CD/LP/Track Review Submerged
by Karl Ackermann
Published: November 9, 2017