CONTACT: PETER ALEXANDER
100 Old Public Library
Iowa City IA 52242
(319) 384-0072; fax (319) 384-0024
Release: March 4, 1999
UI Percussion Ensemble CD includes new versions of music from '50s
IOWA CITY, Iowa -- Music from a 1950s hit recording has been recreated
on a new CD, featuring members of the University of Iowa Percussion Ensemble
and its director, Dan Moore. The new CD, "Jungle Fever: Dan Moore
Plays the Music of Dick Schory," has recently been released on the
Ovation Records label.
The recording celebrates the accomplishments of Iowa native Schory and
his Percussion Pops Orchestra, who made several popular recordings in the
1950s and early '60s including the1958 best-selling "Music for Bang,
Barroom, and Harp."
The new recording is the culmination of three years of work by Moore,
an assistant professor and head of percussion at the UI School of Music.
It includes re-creations of many of Schory's original compositions, selected
from seven records made between 1957 and 1969, as well as "Jungle
Fever," the first new percussion score Schory has written in more
than 20 years. Some works on the CD were performed just as Schory wrote
them in the 1950s, while others have been arranged by Moore.
Performers include Moore and members of the UI Percussion Ensemble,
along with guest artists Brent Sandy, trumpet; Pamela Weest-Carrasco, harp;
Alexandre Lunsqui, piano; Anton Hatwich, bass; James Dreier, drums; and
Nate Basinger, MIDI keyboards. Schory is also featured on the CD's first
track, talking about "The Schory Sound" and the original recordings.
The CD was recorded by the UI Recording Studios and recording engineer
Lowell Cross, UI professor of music and director of the studios.
Though out of print now for many years, Schory's "Music for Bang,
Barroom and Harp" and the 12 other Percussion Pops recordings figure
significantly in the history of American music. "Bang, Barroom"
was one of the first albums of any kind to be recorded as a demonstration
for stereo sound in the 1950s. Stereo was able to provide a spatial awareness
of sound that could not be heard in the monaural recordings of the day,
and the music of Schory's recordings was intended to emphasize the dynamic
space and time possibilities of a percussion orchestra.
"Bang, Barroom" became a bestseller in the '50s, largely because
audio show rooms used it for demonstrations of the first stereo equipment.
In 1959 it spent 26 weeks on the Billboard Top 40 charts.
It was also one of the best recorded albums of all time, according to
Audiophile Magazine, which put the record in its top 10 list of best-engineered
"This album set the trend for 10 years in the record industry,"
Moore says. "Everybody in the industry copied "Bang, Barroom"
in one way or another, from the playful album covers to the instruments
used. Before Schory, percussion in America was relegated mainly to the
realm of new music, done for art audiences by composers like John Cage
and Harry Partch. Schory brought percussion -- as well as himself -- into
the world of pop music."
Schory is a drummer, conductor and arranger as well as record producer.
He was a percussion band leader and later worked in Hollywood producing
movie soundtracks. Schory's varied career includes a stint with the Chicago
He was a major figure in popular music in the 1950s and '60s. His Percussion
Pops Orchestra played to sold-out audiences from Carnegie Hall to the Hollywood
Bowl. The group toured -- and sold out -- for 15 years. Schory is known
for playful experimentation in percussion, using drums, xylophones, specialty
sounds, just about anything that could be struck to make sound.
Members of Schory's Percussion Pops Orchestra have included many well-known
jazz musicians over the years including Tom Davis, Moore's predecessor
on the UI faculty and for many years the head of jazz studies at the UI;
Joe Morello, who was Dave Brubeck's drummer; and Gary Burton on vibes.
An internationally known percussionist, composer and teacher, Moore
has experience from concert to marching percussion, and from jazz to classical
styles. Performing all aspects of percussion, including keyboard percussion,
drum set, ethnic and multi-percussion, he is considered a "total percussionist."
As a soloist, Moore has developed a unique new style of marimba performance,
using a MIDI set-up that allows him to create layers of electronically
triggered and natural acoustic sounds. For the past 12 years he has toured
as a member of the Britain/Moore Duo, whose CD "Cricket City"
has been described by Pan-lime Magazine as "a brilliant collage of
pan-marimba pieces." He is a performing artist for the Yamaha Corporation
of America, Sabian Ltd., and Innovative Percussion. He has written for
Jazz Player, Sticks and Mallets and Percussive Notes magazines.
Lowell Cross came to the UI in 1971 as assistant professor of music
and director of the UI Recording Studios and the VIDEO/LASER project. His
laser work at the UI included the creation of a light show to accompany
a 1975 performance of Scriabin's "Prometheus: Poem of Fire" in
Hancher Auditorium. Cross repeated his light show in 1983 in Carnegie Hall,
with the Baltimore Symphony.
In 1987, when digital technology virtually took over the recording industry,
Cross immediately began upgrading the equipment in the facility. Today
the Recording Studios represent the state of the digital recording art.
More than 50 commercial compact discs have been recorded, edited, produced,
or mastered under Cross's care.
"Jungle Fever: Dan Moore Plays the Music of Dick Schory" is
available from Moore in the School of Music, at (319) 335-1632 or by e-mail
It is also available from Real Compact Discs and Records, located at 132
1/2 Washington St. in Iowa City.
A grant to the UI School of Music, the Percussion Ensemble and its director,
Dan Moore, from the Central Investment Fund for Research Enhancement (CIFRE)
and the Arts and Humanities Initiative (AHI) at the UI helped cover the
cost of recording and distributing the CD.