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Two Drake ensembles to perform jazz concerts

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CONTACT: Tory Olson, 515-271-1834, tory.olson@drake.edu 

Both of Drake University’s jazz ensembles will perform free concerts in April on the Jordan Stage in Sheslow Auditorium, Old Main, 2507 University Ave.

Drake Jazz Ensemble II will play a variety of jazz tunes on Thursday, April 24. On Tuesday, April 29, Drake Jazz Ensemble I will perform selections from its latest CD, “Across the Pond,” which was recorded during the group’s most recent European tour. Both concerts will start at 8 p.m.

The program for Jazz Ensemble II, directed by James Romain, includes tunes ranging in style from medium swing, ballads and Latin, to up-tempo swing. “Each tune has its own character, with effective improvised solos that create a powerful groove,” Romain said.

The concert also features classic arrangements as played by the great bands of Count Basie and Duke Ellington, among others. The program will conclude with an extremely difficult arrangement by Bob Curnow.

Jazz Ensemble I, directed by Andrew Classen, will celebrate the debut of “Across the Pond” and perform with guest artist Bill Liston, saxophone.

Liston, a freelance musician in the Los Angeles area, has recorded with Ray Charles, James Taylor and Michael Buble, among others. Liston also has performing credits for several motion pictures, including “Catch Me If You Can,” “Chicago” and “The Devil Wears Prada.” He also has arranging and conducting credits for various films, including “Pirates Of The Caribbean” and “Spiderman 3.”

Liston arranged several pieces for the program, including “Claxography,” “You Hid What in the Sousaphone?” and “I Can’t Get Started.”

The ensemble also will perform:

  • “High Maintenance” by Gordon Goodwin
  • “Hang Gliding” by Maria Schneider
  • “Moanin'” by Charles Mingus
  • “That Old Black Magic” by Johnny Mercer
  • “Spirit of New Orleans” by Andrew Classen

“Across the Pond” will be available for purchase at the concert for $15. This is the first time the CD will be available to the public.

Additional information about Drake’s jazz ensembles is available on the Web site.