Saturday, March 02, 2013

Travels with the Symphonic Band and Jazz Orchestra 

 The HSU Symphonic Band follows Handel in the Strand with some Strange Humors, and the Jazz Orchestra takes Seven Steps to Heaven in their shared concert on Saturday March 2 in Fulkerson Recital Hall.

 It all starts with a fanfare—the Gavorkna Fanfare by Jack Stamp, performed by the Symphonic Band. “It’s a flashy piece, showing off the really good brass section we have this year,” said conductor Paul Cummings. 

Strange Humors by contemporary composer John Mackey combines Middle Eastern and African music. “This is a very exciting piece by a composer who uses a lot of rock music elements,” Cumming said. “It features Neil Bost on the djembe, a West African drum. It’s a real tour de force performance.”

 Other pieces on the program are Percy Grainger’s Handel on the Strand (“a very tuneful piece that’s fun to listen to,” Cummings said,) Old Churches, a combination of the old and new by Michael Colgrass, and Rikudim by Jan Van der Roost, a lively evocation of Israeli folk dances. 

 Then the Jazz Orchestra takes over with “Seven Steps to Heaven,” a tune made famous by Miles Davis in a new arrangement featuring vocalist Jo Kuzelka.

Soloists on other tunes include: Nev Mattinson on vibes, Josh Foster on trombone and Nick Durant on tenor sax for “Bags’ Groove,” guitarist Dan Fair and pianist Alex Espe on Fair’s arrangement of “Besame Mucho,” and bassist Steven Workman and trumpeter McKenna Smith on the Dizzy Gillespie Band tune, “Two Bass Hit.” 

 The Jazz Orchestra set also includes “I’ve Told Ev’ry Little Star” by Jerome Kern and Richard Rodgers, and “Scorpio” by Mary Lou Williams, a movement from her Zodiac Suite. “It’s a psychological portrait of one or more people Williams knew who were born under that sign,” conductor Dan Aldag explained.

 HSU Symphonic Band and Jazz Orchestra perform on Saturday March 2 at 8 p.m. in the Fulkerson Recital Hall on the HSU campus in Arcata. Tickets: $7/$3/free to HSU students with i.d. from HSU Ticket Office (826-3928) or at the door. Symphonic Band conducted by Paul Cummings, Jazz Orchestra by Dan Aldag, in a concert produced by the HSU Music Department.

Media: Humboldt State Now, Arcata Eye

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