Saturday, December 13, 2014

Jazz Orchestra: From Grunge to Big Band 

The HSU Jazz Orchestra turns grunge and steel pan sounds into jazz, then gets back to early 60s big band basics in its December 13 concert at Fulkerson Recital Hall.

 “’Black Hole Sun’ was a hit for the seminal grunge band Soundgarden in 1994,” said director Dan Aldag, “but arranger James Miley radically reworked it into a contemporary jazz piece.”

 A transformation closer to home comes from HSU alum Dan Fair, who turned “Summer Song” by Trinidad composer and steel pan player Cliff Alexis into a tune especially for the Jazz Orchestra. 

Current band members Kyle McInnis (alto sax) and Ryan Woempner (bass) contribute originals, called “Schnell!” and “Fire Crayon Drawing.” 

Get frustrated with endless menus instead of a human on the other end of the phone? So did jazz composer Bill Holman, whose “Press One” is on the Jazz Orchestra playlist.

 Big band roots also get explored with early 60s arrangements from Charles Mingus, Count Basie and the Gerry Mulligan Concert Jazz Band. Lauren Strella and Tyler Martin solo on the Mulligan tunes, each on baritone saxophone.

 HSU Jazz Orchestra performs on Saturday December 13 at 8 p.m. in the Fulkerson Recital Hall at HSU in Arcata. Tickets are $8 general, $5 seniors and children, and free to HSU students, from the HSU Box Office (826-3928) or at the door. Directed by Dan Aldag, produced by HSU Music Department.

Media: North Coast Journal, Mad River Union, Humboldt State Now

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