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ASU Jazz and Lab Bands open concert season on Thursday, Oct. 2

Sept. 24, 2008 -- The  Arkansas State University Jazz band and Lab band present their opening performance for fall 2008 on Thursday, Oct. 2, at 7:30 p.m. in Riceland Hall, Fowler Center, 201 Olympic Drive, Jonesboro. The performance is free and open to the public.

This year, the bands are stronger than ever as they present songs from a variety of composers from the Bebop era and beyond. The Lab band will open up with “St. Louis Blues” as arranged by Victor Goines. Goines is a top tenor saxophone soloist with the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra, an educator at Julliard School of music, and a composer and arranger. This song will displays the strength and depth of the Jazz Studies program as the Lab band shows its skills as an ensemble, as well as highlighting the strength of its jazz soloists. The band will also perform a big band arrangement of John Coltrane’s “Afro Blue.” Dr. E. Ron Horton, director of Jazz Studies and band leader, says, “Both “St. Louis Blues” and “Afro Blue” will give us a chance to show off some of the excellent soloists that we have in the ensemble.”  The band will also perform a haunting arrangement of the ballad “But Beautiful,” featuring alto saxophonist Ashley Flory. This arrangement, penned by the late Frank Mantooth, makes tremendous and unique use of the tone colors available to the big band.

Thursday night’s concert will also feature the ASU Jazz Band. “This group will truly be a treat for audiences” says Horton. “I feel like there is a level of maturity that the ensemble is gaining, because many members have been working together for three years now.” The band will have a chance to exhibit this maturity as they tackle compositions from great jazz composers such as Ernie Wilkins, Hank Levy, and Bob Brookmeyer. The band will show off its musical intellectualism with the Stan Kenton band standard “Time for a Change,” as well as flex its big band muscle with Dizzy Gillespie’s “Birks Works.”  “In the case of our soloists, the band member’s individual hard work is paying off, and you can hear it,” says Horton. Soloists Joseph Curtis and Mike Newson are in rare form in John Coltrane’s up-tempo finger-breaking “Lazy Bird.” The concert will also feature a special musical tribute to America’s love of baseball, the composition “The Umpire Strikes Back.”

Members of the ASU Jazz Band are: alto saxophones, Claire Richardson and Allen Adcock of Jonesboro; tenor saxophones, Mike Newson of Memphis, Tenn., Daidreon Clayton and Daniel Rickman of Jonesboro; baritone saxophone, Daniel Medina of Marion; trumpets, Antonio Starks of Jonesboro, Joseph Curtis of Trumann, Kelsey Lambert of Paragould, and Lana Spain of Wynne; trombones, Matthew Strawbridge and Kade Holliday of Jonesboro, Jonathan McAlister of Marion, and Jon Reeves of Paragould; piano and vibraphone, Janet Rooney of Lake City; piano, Mauricio Dixon of Wynne; drumset, Curtis Farley of Jonesboro and Jamel Alford of East St. Louis, Ill.; bass, Kevin Cremeens of Jonesboro.

Members of the ASU Lab Band are: alto saxophones, Ashley Flory of Highland and DeMarius Phelix of Marion; tenor saxophones, Shirley Smith of West Memphis and Chance George of Searcy; baritone saxophone, Brittany Reese of Conway; trumpets are Angela Guajardo of Marion, Zac Adams of Piggott ,and Kayla Hunter and Eric Escue of Jonesboro; trombones, Treavor Mitchell of Jonesboro, Corey Spencer of Wynne, and Kyle Manly and Zach Elledge of Pocahontas; euphonium, Derek Escue of Jonesboro; vibraphone, Alysa Fenner of Jonesboro; guitar, Mitch Mitchusson of Jonesboro;basses are Kenny Smith and Tonia Spurlock of Piggott; drumset, Bryan Elder of Jonesboro.



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