CONTACT: PETER ALEXANDER
300 Plaza Centre One
Iowa City IA 52242
(319) 384-0072; fax (319) 384-0024
Release: Nov. 27, 2002
(Photo: John Rapson will conduct Johnson County Landmark for a concert of
holiday music, shared with the Jazz Repertory Ensemble, at 3 p.m.and 8 p.m.
Saturday, Dec. 14, in Clapp Recital Hall on the UI campus.)
UI Jazz Bands Present holiday concerts 3 and 8 p.m. Dec. 14
County Landmark and the Jazz Repertory Ensemble -- two of the student performing
groups in the jazz program of the University of Iowa School of Music -- will
present concerts of holiday music at 3 p.m. and 8 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 14,
in Clapp Recital Hall on the UI campus.
Johnson County Landmark (JCL) is directed by John Rapson, head of jazz studies
in the School of Music. The Jazz Repertory Ensemble (JRE) is directed by Brent
Sandy from the UI jazz faculty. Both groups are student ensembles that feature
the standard big-band instrumentation, with full sections of reed, brass and
rhythm instruments. Several UI faculty will be featured as soloists on the
Part of the Target Fall Community Concert Series presented by the UI Arts
Share program and supported by a grant from Target Stores, Inc., the afternoon
concert will feature a short program -- about 60 minutes -- aimed at a younger
audience. The evening concert will feature the same program, filled out to
full concert length of approximately 90 minutes.
The afternoon concert is presented free of charge, with a $1 suggested donation
for adults to support the Community Concert Series. The evening concert will
The mainstay of both performances will be a jazz arrangement of nine pieces
from Tchaikovsky's popular "Nutcracker" Suite, written by Duke Ellington
and Billy Strayhorn. Jazz arrangements of other holiday favorites on the program
will include "Greensleeves," arranged by Oliver Nelson and featuring
Rapson on trombone; "Little Drummer Boy" arranged by Bob Washut
and featuring UI jazz faculty members Steve Grismore, guitar, and Jim Dreier,
drums; and an arrangement of "Jingle Bells" by UI doctoral student
Bryan Hardester, replete with humorous quotes and a sing-along section.
The musical program will be embellished with video and slide projections,
and holiday stories with improvised music as background.
The added material for the evening concert will include a traditional Jewish
tune arranged by UI undergraduate Julie Nichols, the pianist with the JRE,
with jazz faculty member Bob Paredes on the clarinet.
"There's a lot of great jazz on Christmas songs and other music from
the holidays that we want to share with our audiences," Rapson said.
"Ellington's 'Nutcracker' arrangements are a real classic, but just about
every other jazz artist has done these tunes at one time or another, so there's
a lot to choose from. And with such familiar songs, it makes a great jazz
concert for families."
In 1998 JCL performed Ellington's "Nutcracker" with dancers from
the UI Dance Department. The event was so popular that people had to be turned
away from the first performance, and additional performances were scheduled
to meet the demand.
Created in 1962, Ellington's version of the familiar Tchaikovsky "Nutcracker"
Suite was his first complete record album devoted to arrangements of another
composer's music. This unexpected development confused critics of the time,
who didn't know how to categorize the album: Was it jazz? Was it third-stream
-- a synthesis of classical and jazz? Or was it just a put-on?
As shown by subsequent works -- the re-interpreted Grieg of "Peer Gynt"
Suite, the "Far East Suite," and other multi-part works that followed
-- the "Nutcracker" arrangements signaled an important development
in Ellington's career. Recently the suites and other later works have been
successfully revived by the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra, and the "Nutcracker"
Suite was used by choreographer Donald Byrd for his "Harlem Nutcracker."
Ellington's Suite has nine movements, based on many of the popular pieces
from Tchaikovsky's score. Re-named with jazzy titles, they include "Toot
Toot Tootie Toot" ("Dance of the Reed Pipes" in the original),
"Sugar Rum Cherry" ("Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy"),
"Dance of the Floreadores" ("Waltz of the Flowers") and
"Arabesque Cookie" ("Arabian Dance").
JCL tours throughout the Midwest. In addition to its free concerts on the
UI campus, JCL makes frequent appearances at clubs in Iowa City. It is one
of 11 ensembles in the jazz program of the UI School of Music. Among them,
these diverse ensembles range from combos to big bands and differs in stylistic
formats from experimental compositions to traditional repertoires.
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 unique."
Previous albums under Rapson's direction are "Bing" for Sound Aspects,
and "Buwah" and "Deeba dah bwee" for Nine Winds. He has
also recorded "A Mingus Among Us" and "Been There, Done That"
with Johnson County Landmark.
Sandy, who joined the jazz faculty in 2000, is a jazz trumpet and flugelhorn
performer, teacher and clinician. Sandy performs regularly with local jazz
groups including the Orquesta de Jazz y Salsa Alto Maiz, the OddBar Trio and
Equilateral. As a member of the Orquesta Alto Maiz and OddBar he has made
seven CDs, toured Europe in 1998 and twice been featured on "Jazzset
with Branford Marsalis" on National Public Radio. He is an educational
specialist/clinician and Conn Vintage One artist with United Musical Instruments,
a division of United Musical Instruments, USA, and serves on the board of
directors of the Iowa City Jazz Festival.
The School of Music is part of the Division of Performing Arts in the UI
College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.
A program of the UI Division of Performing Arts, Arts Share provides artistic
resources from the Iowa Center for the Arts to schools, local art councils,
community arts associations, museums, senior citizen centers and other organizations
throughout Iowa and the surrounding region. The Arts Share roster includes
nearly 100 faculty and graduate students in music, theater, dance, the visual
arts and creative writing.
For more information about the Target Fall Community Concert Series or Arts
Share, contact Diane Kenney Handler at 335-1618 or firstname.lastname@example.org,
or access the Arts Share website at http://www.uiowa.edu/artsshare.
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/.
To receive UI arts news by e-mail, contact <email@example.com>.