On Dec. 3, the University of Maine and Old Town High School jazz ensembles came together in Minsky Recital Hall for a winter showcase.
The first half of the showcase featured Jeffrey Priest conducting the Orono High School jazz ensemble as they played a set of selections which included “Walkin’ Shoes” by Gerry Mulligan and “Sunset Glow” by Benny Carter. Many students were given the opportunity to perform solos, including Adam Regan on the baritone saxophone, Levi Trefts on trombone, Lilly Preble on the trombone and guest soloist Craig Skeffington on the trumpet.
As the second half of the show began, the UMaine Jazz Ensemble took the stage. Conducted by Interim Director, Dr. Philip Edelman, the ensemble performed many iconic jazz pieces, including “Georgia on my Mind” by Hoagy Carmichael, “Devil May Care” by Bob Dorough and “Moonlight Serenade” by Glenn Miller and Mitchell Parish. Each piece was selected by Edelman and the band.
“We tried a lot of different music at the beginning of the semester,” Edelman said. “Some was chosen by the musicians in the ensemble, and some was chosen by me. In the end, we put together a number of different programs throughout the semester that made sense for the different venues and circumstances under which we were performing.”
The showcase featured the skills of many talented soloists, including Kyle Jordan on the alto saxophone and Isaac Vaccaro on the clarinet.
For the evening’s final performance, the University of Maine Jazz Ensemble performed Gordon Goodwin’s “Hunting For Wabbits.” This selection featured four soloists: Eric Fay-Wolfe on the piano, Thomas Prescott on the electric guitar, Mason Duplissie on the trombone and Jordan on the alto saxophone once again.
Jazz is one of the most important and influential genres in history. It was developed from earlier styles such as blues and ragtime. By the 1920s, it had become the most popular genre in the United States. This period is often called the “jazz age” and boasts many of the genre’s most important pieces. However, most of the selections in the winter showcase come from the 1930s and later.
“I like the harmonic language, and the different styles for sure,” Edelman said. “Most importantly, though, I like that it is a unique style of music that developed here in the United States. It also gives musicians the unique opportunity to be an on-the-spot-composer when improvising.”
For more information about this event and others like it, please visit the CCA for more information, or checkout the CCA website at UMaine.edu/SPA/Events.