One O’Clock Nation! How goes it? What have we been up to? APRIL! Traditionally the busiest of times here at UNT, the month of showers (in Denton…not so much) has once again lived up to its reputation. April is of course Jazz Appreciation Month (JAM) across the U.S. and specifically Dallas Jazz Appreciation Month (D-JAM) around these here parts. So, the One O’Clock did our part by getting the music out-and-about and having a blast doing it. Here is the run-down:
The Next Generation Festival (The 56th Monterey Jazz Festival)
On April 6, we flew to beautiful Monterey, California to perform as the Saturday evening headline group at The Next Generation Jazz Festival. Affiliated with the legendary September Festival, The NGJF is a wonderful event that brings together some of the best high school and college groups in the U.S. An extremely good time was had by all, and the band was SWINGING!
Next up on our Aprillian Agenda (ok, “Aprillian” is not a real word…but if I didn’t tell you, would you have known? Ah…the power of the unedited Internet) was a reward for the band’s hard work all year. My good friend James Pankow happens to be the legendary trombonist and composer for the amazing jazz-rock group Chicago, and he invited the entire band to visit with the cats backstage at their concert in Oklahoma. So…ROAD TRIP! Members of the One O’Clock had the wonderful treat of seeing one of the world’s best professional road productions from the inside-out in going behind the scenes and talking shop with the members of Chicago. The show was TREMENDOUS and the band and road crew were some of the classiest people you would ever want to meet. We all got an education as to just how gracious the great ones can be when they are at the top of their game. Mucho thanks to Jimmy and all the good folks associated with Chicago!
Following the Oklahoma-Chicago road trip, we performed for D-JAM itself at the new City Performance Hall in the Dallas Arts District. Under the auspices of Joanna St. Angelo (Sammons Center for the Arts Executive Director) and Arlington Jones (Sammons Jazz Artistic Director) we put together a wonderful evening of Dallas-Jazz celebration titled “Jazz-in Dallas.” The first set featured The Sammons Jazz Ensemble under the direction of Arlington Jones (Stockton Helbing, James Driscoll, Simone Rodgers, Garry Williams, Tom Braxton and Keith Anderson) performing “Sammons Jazz Plays Motown” a wonderful suite of arrangments by Arlington that turned Motown hits into jazz standards. The second set featured The One O’Clock playing a group of charts we collectively called “Grammy Jazz” made up of pieces from our Grammy nominated recordings, as well as works that were specifically nominated. It was a wonderful night in a beautiful venue!
Then of course April ends with the wild and wonderful LAB BAND MADNESS! Now a permanent fixture at The UNT Showcase Stage at The Denton Arts and Jazz Festival, Lab Band Madness features ALL NINE Lab Bands! And, as if that weren’t enough, throughout the weekend the stage features all four vocal jazz groups (West End, Third Street, Avenue C, and The Jazz Singers) multiple student small groups both instrumental and vocal, The U-Tubes (trombone band), the two guitar ensembles L-5 and Super 400, The Zebras, The Jazz Repertory Ensemble and the Latin Jazz Lab Band along with The Mariachi Aguilas and The African Percussion Ensemble. An absolutely stunning array of young talent all featured in the great out-of-doors (complete with some SLAMMIN’ deep-fried goodness from the multiple food tents).
So…yeah: APRIL! Kinda busy. But when you have a band like this, being kinda busy is a very, very good thing!
And now…Lab 2013.
Until next month: Keep Swingin’!