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The University of Minnesota appears to have a respectable Jazz ensemble; too bad it’s not showcased more often (two of eight tracks) on this abbreviated compendium of music from 1992–95 (the smaller Jazz Combo is heard on “Cockroach Clusters,” the Jazz Singers from 1992, ’94 or ’95 on the other numbers). The ensemble leads off with Dave Liebman’s surprisingly mainstream “Picadilly Lilly” (with serviceable solos by trumpeter Frankowski and alto saxophonist Thomson) and returns for Ellington’s “Concerto for Cootie” (perhaps better known as “Do Nothin’ Till You Hear from Me”), which features Tim Martin’s trumpet, muted and open. After “Cockroach” (written by pianist Juskovic, other personnel unlisted), the Singers take over the rest of the way, with program director Ron McCurdy adding his “voice” (as whistler, actually) on “When You Wish Upon a Star.” The harmonically challenging “Jubilee” is by vocalese master Bobby McFerrin, “Basically Blues” by trombonist Phil Wilson. The Singers are good, and show at the least that UM has a well–rounded Jazz Studies program. We look forward to future enterprises.
Track listing: Picadilly Lilly; Concerto for Cootie; Cockroach Clusters; My Favorite Things; When You Wish Upon a Star; The Shadow of Your Smile; Jubilee; Basically Blues (37:23).
Jazz is a continuing revelation. The best show I ever attended was the
Roots Picnic at Penn's Landing in Philadelphia, or was it Robert
Glasper's Experiment at Lincoln Center, or was it Chick Corea with
Brian Blade at Oberlin College? Most of all I enjoy playing guitar and
composing beats with my Brooklyn-based group Space Captain.