Things to Come, the first album by the University of North Florida's superlative Jazz Ensemble I under its new director, Keith Javors, easily affirms that UNF's long-standing tradition of excellence, established under the late Rich Matteson, is unequivocally alive and well. No shaky links in this chain; the ensemble is impressive on every number while the soloists extemporize with maturity and awareness beyond their years. As the saying goes, many bands can play fast enough to camouflage any slight missteps, but it's the ballads that separate the men from the boys, and UNF rises above the challenge on Jimmy Rowles' "The Peacocks" and Rodgers and Hart's "Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered," the last recorded in concert (as was the finale, Dizzy Gillespie's rapid-fire "Things to Come"). Special mention should be made of drummer John Davis who does a creditable job sitting in for the late great Buddy Rich on the show-stopping "West Side Story" medley and staunchly ushers the rhythm section through its paces on every number. The album opens with a bona fide chops-buster, Thad Jones' "Cherry Juice," on which the ensemble plays with its usual self-assurance and Davis, pianist Scott Giddens, flugel Ray Callender and tenor Jeremy Siegel offer stormy solos. Giddens, tenor Juan Carlos Rollan and guitarist James Hogan are featured on Barry Greene's strapping "Viscous," Callender and Rollan on Brian VanArsdale's Kentonesque "Finding Home." Alto Kenny Hamilton is sublime on "The Peacocks" and solos again with trombonist Marius Dicpetris and trumpeter Kenny Lavender on Ornette Coleman's "The Blessing." Ray Brown's boppish "Ray's Idea" is another highlight with cogent statements by trombonist Clarence Hines, baritone Aaron Wilson and alto Dave Guidi. Siegel and Giddens share the spotlight on Clarence Hines' lyrical "While You Were Gone," Hines and Rollan (with Davis) on "West Side Story," Rollan and Hogan on "Bewitched," Rollan, Giddens and Callender on "Things to Come." Recording quality is first-rate on the studio tracks, inconsistent but tolerable on the numbers recorded in front of an understandably appreciative audience. If this album represents a preview of Things to Come from the UNF Jazz Ensemble, kindly reserve a space for me near the head of the line for whatever is to follow.
Contact:Dr. Keith Javors, Department of Music, University of North Florida, 4567 St. Johns Bluff Rd. South, Jacksonville, FL 32224; phone 904-620-2961; e-mail email@example.com. Web site, www.unfjazzensemble.com
Track Listing: Cherry Juice; Viscous; Finding Home; The Peacocks; The Blessing; Ray's Idea; While You Were Gone; West Side Story medley; Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered; Things to Come (58:22).
Personnel: Dr. Keith Javors, director; Kenny Hamilton, Dave Guidi, alto sax; Juan Carlos Rollan, Jeremy Siegel, tenor sax; Aaron Wilson, baritone sax; Jason Lichau, Kenny Lavender, Dave Bethea; Ray Callender, Carter Anderson, Max Matzen (9, 10), trumpet; Marius Dicpetris, Clarence Hines, Wes Boling, Cory Streger, trombone; Major Bailey, bass trombone; Scott Giddens, piano; James Hogan, guitar; Billy Thornton, bass; John Davis, drums.
Year Released: 2002
| Record Label: UNF
| Style: Big Band
I was first exposed to jazz circa 1973, when I met a fellow who ran Kappy's Record Store over near 10th Ave., on 42nd St. in NYC. We really clicked and when I told him I played piano and went to Music & Art HS, and had just started at City College of NY as a music major, he asked if I liked jazz...I said yes but I didn't know much about it, but that I did have sheet music for many popular 1920's through 1940's tunes by noted composers (Porter; Gershwins; Irving Berlin; Rodgers & Hammerstein/Hart; Jerome Kern; Lerner & Loewe; etc.) that my mother had sung beautifully starting in the 1940's including tons of famous show tunes, and I played many of those songs already
I was first exposed to jazz circa 1973, when I met a fellow who ran Kappy's Record Store over near 10th Ave., on 42nd St. in NYC. We really clicked and when I told him I played piano and went to Music & Art HS, and had just started at City College of NY as a music major, he asked if I liked jazz...I said yes but I didn't know much about it, but that I did have sheet music for many popular 1920's through 1940's tunes by noted composers (Porter; Gershwins; Irving Berlin; Rodgers & Hammerstein/Hart; Jerome Kern; Lerner & Loewe; etc.) that my mother had sung beautifully starting in the 1940's including tons of famous show tunes, and I played many of those songs already. SOOOO... he started me off LP's by Oscar Peterson, Art Tatum, Bud Powell, Errol Garner, Bill Evans, Monty Alexander, Charlie Byrd, and Dave Brubeck... does it get any better than that? ...No, it doesn't. I was hooked!!
I met and had a master class with the late music giant John Lewis, leader of the Modern Jazz Quartet! This was at CCNY in 1977. I was blessed! It was an incredible class... how could it have been anything else?!?!
The first jazz record I bought was...I bought numerous records from my friend at the record store, as mentioned above. He introduced me to nothing but music giants/legends! I think The Dave Brubeck Quartet, Greatest Hits, was actually the first one.
My advice to new listeners... study first--understand the rudiments--solfeggio, keys, scales, and basic chords. Read a book or take a class that includes the study of chord progressions, especially in jazz. It should ideally be a piano class so you can play multiple notes together. Have a good EAR or else it's not really worth it in my view...to become a musician, a good EAR for music is about as fundamental as breathing! Learn to read chord charts--i.e., lead sheets - wherein you play various voicings of the chords--major, minor, dominant 7th (alterations of these, you can learn over time - the basic chords are most important for starters), plus the melody, on the piano or keyboard. If you have to read the exact notes, then it's not the same as actually internalizing it & getting it all into your head. If you can do this, I think you're ready not only for listening to jazz, but understanding many concepts of it! Of course...anyone can listen to jazz... but I think it's so good to also have a grasp of it.