LUJE covers a century of jazz -rws -dlh

Veronica DeVore

The LU Jazz Ensemble, under the direction of Professor Fred Sturm, will present a concert entitled “The Jazz Century: Celebrating 100 Years of Jazz History” on Thursday and Friday, March 10 and 11 at 8 p.m. in Stansbury Theatre. Admission is free, but reservations are ticketed as available seating is limited.
The concert will follow 100 years of jazz chronologically, beginning with the piece “King Porter Stomp,” written in 1902 by Ferdinand LaMenthe “Jelly Roll” Morton. According to Sturm, this is arguably the most enduring composition in jazz history, and LUJE will preserve its authenticity with soloist Eric Cline performing Morton’s piano solo note-for-note. Student involvement in this concert goes beyond that of previous performances, with many of the famous solos on the program transcribed by the students playing them. Also, members of LUJE will serve as narrators, giving researched background information on each piece.
Other highlights on the program include “West End Blues,” as recorded by Louis Armstrong in 1928. Soloist Peter Gillette will perform both Armstrong’s historic trumpet solo and his scat vocal solo. Listeners can trace the emergence of “swing” and “big band” sounds in jazz through “West End Blues” as well as through Fletcher Henderson’s “Wrappin’ it Up,” which was the archetype for the popular World War II era big band.
The influence of jazz greats such as Duke Ellington and Dizzie Gillespie is re-created in “Jack the Bear” and “A Night in Tunisia,” with soloists McComas-Reichl and Jeff Ostroski on tour-de-force bass and trumpet solos, respectively. The trombone will be featured in “Walkin’,” featuring transcriptions of the solos of trombone great J.J. Johnson. LUJE trombonists Joel Bryan and Kate Nelson scored these transcriptions for five trombones, and it’s sure to produce a huge and awesome sound.
The program will conclude with “Take the ‘A’ Train,” arguably the most popular composition in jazz history. A quartet of LU saxophones will re-create a 1986 recording of the piece done by the World Saxophone Quartet. Finally, and fittingly, the concert will end with “King Porter ’94,” a re-creation of the opening “King Porter Stomp” that was done almost a century later. It will feature drummer Zach Preston in a powerful tribute to “Jelly Roll” Morton and his 1902 work.
The program contains 19 selections in all, with works by John Coltrane, Miles Davis, Charles Mingus, Max Roach, and Ornette Colman, among many others. This performance is sure to be a milestone for LUJE, with phenomenal student solos and fascinating historical background on the great art of jazz.