CONTACT: PETER ALEXANDER
100 Old Public Library
Iowa City IA 52242
(319) 384-0072; fax (319) 384-0024
Johnson County Landmark features guests on jazz concert March 17
IOWA CITY, Iowa -- Cool bop, hard bop, third stream and Brazilian jazz
will all be part of the program when Johnson County Landmark, the top jazz
band at the University of Iowa School of Music, presents its spring concert
at 8 p.m. Monday, March 17, in Clapp Recital Hall on the UI campus.
Johnson County Landmark (JCL) is directed by John Rapson, head of the
UI jazz studies program. Maurita Murphy Mead, a classically-trained clarinetist
who recently presented a full-length jazz program, and Brazilian jazz pianist
Rafael Dos Santos, who performed with her on that program, will be the
guest soloists for the free concert.
Mead will perform two pieces that were played by Benny Goodman, Mel
Powell's "Mission to Moscow" and a version of "I'll Remember
April" that combines jazz and classical styles. The latter, representing
a style that is somewhere between the separate streams of jazz and classical
music, is sometimes known as "third stream."
Dos Santos, who has been at the UI for several years studying in the
jazz program and performing in the Iowa City area, will play two of his
own pieces as well as a Brazilian "freno," a type of piece that
is based on an athletic dance traditionally performed with a parasol at
Carnival time. One of his own compositions, "Se So," is a ballad
for solo piano that Dos Santos wrote as a farewell to Iowa City.
Other works played by JCL will include: Gerry Mulligan's cool-bop tune
"Bweebida," originally written for Mulligan on baritone saxophone
and trombonist Bob Brookmeyer; Gil Evans' "La Nevada Blues,"
from his "Out of the Cool" album; John Coltrane's "Giant
Steps," a hard-bop tune that inspired one description of Coltrane's
playing style as "sheets of sound"; and Oliver Nelson's hard
bop/blues arrangement of "Down by the Riverside."
There will also be pieces on the program from the classical big-band
jazz repertoire, including Fletcher Henderson's arrangement of Coleman
Hawkins' "Queer Notions" and "Happy-Go-Lucky Local"
from Duke Ellington's "Down South Suite." One of many Ellington
pieces about trains, "Happy-Go-Lucky Local" includes a theme
that was later popularized as "Night Train."
A major ensemble in the UI School of Music jazz program, JCL is a repertory
ensemble devoted to the performance of original compositions by jazz masters.
JCL has the standard big-band instrumentation, with full sections of reed,
brass and rhythm instruments. It is made up largely of students in the
UI School of Music majoring in performance or in the jazz area.
The ensemble has been performing at the UI since the 1960s. The group
has traveled to jazz festivals in the United States and Europe, picking
up awards on both sides of the Atlantic, and individual members of JCL
continue to win major awards and contests. In 1994, members of the group
took top awards in the International Trumpet Guild's Jazz Competition and
the Jazz Composition Competition sponsored by California State University
at San Diego.
JCL tours throughout the Midwest. In addition to its free concerts on
the UI campus, JCL makes frequent appearances at clubs in Iowa City. The
group's most recent recording, "A Mingus Among Us," was described
as "over 70 minutes of sweet, sophisticated jazz classics" in
ICON magazine, and River Cities Reader commented that "JCL, the top
big band for the University of Iowa School of Music, captures the power
of Mingus' music wonderfully."
Rapson joined the faculty of the UI School of Music as director of jazz
studies in August 1993. A recording artist for the Sound Aspects and Nine
Winds labels, he is a composer and trombonist whose work mixes ethnic and
experimental elements with more conventional jazz forms. His recent experimental
jazz recording "Dances and Orations" has been hailed as "a
conceptual and musical triumph" by Josef Woodard in the Independent.
Rapson has taught and played professionally on both Coasts. His professional
career began in Los Angeles, where he formed an octet and performed with
some of the leading jazz artists, including Bobby Bradford, Vinny Golia,
Tim Berne and Bill Frisell. After moving East, he played recording sessions
with Anthony Braxton, Doc Cheatham, David Murray and Julius Hemphill.
Mead is in her 14th year teaching clarinet on the faculty of the UI
School of Music, where she is also associate director for undergraduate
studies. She has been principal clarinet of several Midwestern orchestras,
including the Cedar Rapids Symphony. As a chamber musician she has appeared
with the Cleveland Quartet and other ensembles. Her recent "On The
Fence" and "Over the Fence" performances reflect her growing
interest in jazz performance styles.
As recipient of the UI Collegiate Teaching Award, Mead was the invited
speaker at the UI College of Liberal Arts commencement in 1990. Her students
have won first prize in competitions sponsored by the International Clarinet
Association and ClarFest.
Dos Santos is a professor of piano at Sao Paulo State University in
Brazil and a doctoral student in the UI School of Music. Since coming to
Iowa City in 1992 he has also been teaching improvisation in the UI jazz
program. He has played with some of the leading jazz musicians in Brazil,
including Paulo Moura and Novaldo Ornelas.
In Iowa City he has played with the OftEnsemble and his own group, the
Bons Amigos Trio. He also played for two years in the UI Jazztet, which
he took to Recife, Brazil, for a two-week workshop in May 1996.