CONTACT: PETER ALEXANDER
300 Plaza Centre One
Iowa City IA 52242
(319) 384-0072; fax (319) 384-0024
Release: April 5, 2002
Guests from West Coast jazz scene join JCL for April 20 concert
County Landmark, the top big band of the University of Iowa School of Music,
will welcome two leading West Coast musicians -- trombonist Michael Vlatkovich
and drummer Chris Garcia -- as guest artists for a free concert at 8 p.m.
Saturday, April 20 in Clapp Recital Hall on the UI campus.
Johnson County Landmark (JCL), under director John Rapson, will play six
of the newest compositions by Vlatkovich, who has been called "a musician
who knows no bounds" by the Los Angeles Times.
"Mike is, at one and the same time, a craftsman and an innovator,"
Rapson commented. "He takes chances, but he also knows what he's asking
of the performers. And he knows how to be pensive on the one hand while concocting
hilarity on the other."
Other works on the program will be works from JCL's core repertory of jazz
classics, including pieces by Duke Ellington and Bob Brookmeyer, as well as
a composition by Los Angeles composer Kim Richmond, who will be a guest at
this summer's All State Jazz Camp, and an arrangement by UI alumnus Chris
Merz from UNI.
Vlatkovich and Garcia are currently on tour around the country, which is
what brought them to the Midwest. "Mike and I met first in the Vinny
Golia Large Ensemble where we worked in a section with Bruce Fowler and Phil
Teele -- former members of the Toshiko Akioshi band." Rapson said. "Its
wonderful that he and Chris can come through as part of their tour."
Vlatkovich, a professional trombonist, composer and arranger, is considered
one of the leading talents among Los Angeles improvisational players. Located
on the West Coast since 1973, he is an emotionally charged performer, comfortable
in a variety of jazz and world-music styles. He has performed extensively
in the United States, Canada and Europe.
In addition to leading his own diverse ensembles, Vlatkovich has performed
with a wide array of singers and instrumentalists including Peggy Lee, Brian
Setzer, Bryan Adams, Bobby Bradford, Gerry Hemingway, Rob Blakeslee and Rich
Halley, among many others. He has also performed on sound tracks for a variety
of television and film projects including "The Mask," "Jingle
All The Way," and the critically acclaimed John Cassavettes film "The
Vlatkovich has received numerous critical accolades. The Weekly Alibi recently
commented, "Trombonist/composer Michel Vlatkovich has a knack for leaving
just the right loose ends loose and weaving others into knots that are almost
impossible to unravel. His arrangements are characteristically sparse -- sometimes
startingly so -- but the depths of his imagination are so densely
packed with the new and the fresh that listening to Vlatkovich blow is to
hear improvisational jazz for the first time, every time."
Garcia was born, raised, and still resides in East Los Angeles. His background
includes performances in a wide variety of musical settings including jazz,
rock, world music, traditional Mexican music, percussion ensemble, soundtracks
and cartoon music. He attributes his versatile style to "listening to
EVERYTHING," while logging thousands of hours practicing, rehearsing,
performing and touring with throughout the United States, Canada and Southeast
Asia with a diverse array of musicians and groups.
He has been the drummer/percussionist of several critically acclaimed ensembles
including Continuum; Quarteto Nuevo, a world music improvising chamber ensemble;
The Michael Vlatkovich Ensembles; The Jihad Racy, a world music trio; and
the World Music Percussion Quartet.
Cadence Jazz Magazine described Garcia as "an excellent percussionist
(who) really pushes the group, especially in the solo sections."
A major ensemble in the UI School of Music jazz program, Johnson County
Landmark (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
JCL's current repertory includes the music of Duke Ellington, Billy Strayhorn,
Tadd Dameron, Thad Jones, Oliver Nelson and Benny Golson, along with new works
by students in the jazz studies area at the UI. In 1998, JCL's performance
of Ellington's "Nutcracker" arrangements with choreography by UI
dance students was performed to standing-room-only audiences and had to be
repeated to meet demand for tickets.
In recent years the group has collaborated with leading jazz artists, including
their concerts in 2001 with Carla Bley and Steve Swallow. The group's 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 "one
of the most vital CDs to come around in a long time" in Jazziz and as
"a conceptual and musical triumph" by Josef Woodard in the Independent.
The CD scored 10 out of 10 for artistic merit in Grammophone magazine's "Good
CD Guide" for jazz recordings, which also called it "beautiful and
The School of Music is part of the Division of Performing Arts in the UI
College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.
For information on UI arts events, visit http://www.uiowa.edu/artsiowa
on the World Wide Web. You may visit the UI School of Music web site at http://www.uiowa.edu/~music/.
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