Saturday, May 10, 2014

From the Duke to Britney with the Jazz Orchestra

 HSU Jazz Orchestra plays a Duke Ellington classic, a brand new arrangement of Horace Silver’s “Peace,” and a Britney Spears tango in Spanish. Sort of. It all happens on Saturday May 10 in Fulkerson Recital Hall. 

Duke Ellington’s Harlem was performed by the Jazz Orchestra in collaboration with the Humboldt Symphony in March, under the direction of Dan Aldag. “This time it’s just the band,” Aldag said, “with the version Ellington originally wrote for his own band.” 

Jazz pianist Horace Silver originally recorded his classic ballad “Peace” with a quartet. David Berger, arranger and conductor of his own jazz orchestra, did a band version. In March, Dan Aldag heard it played by the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra. “I liked it so much that I immediately contacted Berger and purchased.” The HSU Jazz Orchestra plays it for this concert. 

 Also on the bill is Chick Corea’s “Blue Miles” (arranged by Bob Washut) and “the rhythmically intricate” Alan Ferber track from his Grammy-nominated album March Sublime, called “Kopi Luwak.” 

“The second half of the concert features works by current and former students,” Aldag said. Current trumpeter McKenna Smith sings her original tune, “Be Like Ella,” with the band. She also contributes a spoken word piece to “Pink,” a tune first recorded by the Bobby Sanabria Big Band.

 But the big collaboration revolves around the 2004 global pop hit “Toxic” as recorded by Britney Spears. “Dan Fair, who graduated last year, wrote an arrangement which turns it into a tango,” Aldag said. “One of the band's trombonists, Spanish major Bret Johnson, translated the lyrics into Spanish, and the band's baritone saxophonist, Lauren Strella, sings them.” You'll just have to be there.

 HSU Jazz Orchestra performs on Saturday May 10 at 8 p.m. in the Fulkerson Recital Hall at HSU. Tickets are $8/$5, free to HSU students with ID, from HSU Ticket Office (826-3928) or at the door. Directed by Dan Aldag, produced by HSU Music Department.

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