The Air Force Brass Quintet

Monday, April 23, 2012

Jammin on the one!

Hi all,

Today in class we listened to some pretty hip music.  This week has been a bit of a struggle (and it's only MONDAY), so it was nice to have some fun and educational music to relax to.  Today we listened to the Soul Rebel Brass Band.  Right now as I'm blogging, I'm listening to them and the sound is so smooth, so rhythmic.  I just love it.  I appreciate Professor Manning introducing us to them.  This band is straight from New Orleans and is definitely drenched in that style.  Their music can also be heard on the hit show Treme on HBO.  The Soul Rebel Brass Band features Trombone Shorty who as we all know was here just a few months ago performing at the Englert.  As I'm listening I'm hearing some rapping going on and I had a thought in class that they were influenced by rappers, but the rappers of that area were in turn influenced by the music of New Orleans.  Take the rapper Mystikal for example.  His song, Bouncin' Back is straight out of New Orleans.  I mean, obviously he's from there, but listen to the background.  Almost the first thing you hear is a sax rif.  I mean, check it! It's hip hop, but he is definitely combining the elements of that NOLA jazz style in this sound.  Refer to the song "Bouncin' Back" if you want an explanation of the title.  In fact, here's the video just to give you an idea of what I mean.

This music is such a strong example of the NOLA jazz style being blended into rap.  It's kinda cool to hear and see.  I love it.  Anyway, I just wanted to bring the point that people are so innovative and New Orleans jazz music still lives and is pretty mainstream!

I've had a great time blogging!  Maybe I'll keep it up!


Chuck Lazarus

Hi all...again,

I just got finished taking a master class/lesson with Minnesota Symphony player, Chuck Lazarus and I thought I'd share a little about my lesson.

It was great to have Chuck come down.  Not only is he a orchestral player, but he has a jazz combo group.  He has a very innovative style that comes through in his compositions.  To start the class, he played for us some of his works.  He has a strong, bright sound.  He's also a funny, well informed person.  I definitely liked him.  For me, the issue was my ability to sustain through the phrases.  I was getting a big sound, but I just wasn't sustaining.  I honestly could not hear that I wasn't.  Chuck also talked a lot about eliminating things that get in the way of your playing such as hand positions, posture, and embouchure.  It was great to have him down and I definitely enjoyed my lesson with him.  Check him out HERE.  Also, I posted a video of him and Manny Laureano jamming. Check it out!  Enjoy.

The Commandant's Own U.S. Marine Drum Corps

Hi all,

Getting down to the wire here, ya'll.  I've had a great time doing these blogs and I've learned quite a bit.  I thought I'd (finally) post about my topic again.  The Commandant's Own is the drum and bugle corps of the U.S. Marine Corps.  It consists of 80 active duty marines.  They dress in red and white uniforms.  The Commandant's own is completely separate from its sister band, "The President's Own"  however, they perform with each other during the summers in the Friday night traditional parades.  The Commandant's Own was first formed in 1934 to augment The President's Own.  They perform a wide variety of styles including marches, jazz, patriotic, and classical music.  Check out their website HERE.  And I found a really cool video about the history of the Commandant's Own.  So Ch-ch-check it out!

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Trumpet Tour

Hi all!

Last week the Graduate Trumpet Ensemble took a trip to Chicago.  It is good to be back again after a successful trumpet tour.  It was great to get out and play for some area high schools and not only to play, but to give master classes as well.  It was a fun trip to Chicagoland and I thought I'd blog about that today.

On Monday morning we headed out to Libertyville high school in northern Chicago.  The first performances were great.  We played Cityscapes by Erik Morales, Fanfare for and Angel by James Stephenson, Fanfare, Suite for five trumpets by Ronald Lo Presti, an excerpt from a Midsummer Nights Dream, by Felix Mendelssohn, and a Bach Chorale.  After that gig we took off for Northwestern University to hear a concerto competition (the final round).  Northwestern University is right on Lake Michigan and if you ever get a chance to go, do it!  The water is beautiful, the campus is great and you can see the Chicago skyline from your practice room!  The concerto competition was fantastic.  I honestly don't know how they would be able to pick a winner from all the great performers.  The level of concentration was extremely high and the musicianship was right up there with it.  The next day we headed out to Matea high school and played a couple of concerts for the students.  What I really enjoyed about the trip was that it was an educational process.  Dr. Schendel talked quite a bit about intonation, matching in a chamber ensemble, and we got to talk a little about ourselves and what our journey has been like.  The last day we went to Nequa Valley high school and gave four concerts/presentations.  That was a long day, but it was definitely worth it in the end.  Giving a master class is a lot of work, but it is definitely rewarding.  And the literature we played was fantastic and I enjoyed being a part of such a special group.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Iowa Brass Quintet

Hi all,

Last night was the Iowa Brass Quintet concert.  After a whirlwind tour, it was great to come back and have a really strong concert.  Besides playing a couple Gabrielli pieces, we played an interesting piece by Jan Koetsier.  Has anyone ever heard of him?  He is a Dutch composer and conductor.  I had not heard of him but apparently he was really popular in Germany.  Despite the fact he was a Nazi, he still wrote some good music! The piece we performed was called Quintetto Lirico.  In it's three movements, it has the elements of a waltz, a march, a jazz tune, counterpoint and is all and all a great piece.  I really enjoyed playing with Iowa Brass this year--it was a scary/humbling/fun learning experience and I hope to have many more like it.  Maybe my next post will be about Koetsier.  Has anyone ever played one of his quintets?


Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Pershing's Own

Hi all,

Nate's latest blog got me thinking about the Pershing's Own.  I'm just going to slip in a bit more info about them.  Thanks for the idea, Nate!

The Pershing's Own is the premier musical organization of the U.S. Army Band.  It was established in 1922 by General John J. Pershing.  It is the only band to have participated in a theater of foreign combat relations.  The Pershing's Own has performed in Carnegie Hall and around the world.  They currently have several openings.  Check them out HERE if you want to know more!

Also, check out this video if you want to see them in action...or if you just need a good laugh.

Lenny B

Hi all,

I'm feeling crummy this morning so I thought I'd take some time and blog.  On Monday we listened to Bernstein's Dance Suite.  I was definitely reminded of Stravinsky during the Waltz.  It was quirky, a bit off kilter  and fun.  I'm sure that Bernstein drew some inspiration from him.  How could he not?  I thought Dave made a great point in class that Bernstein was trying to keep himself relevant.  The fifth movement, MTV, was a call to the new generation of music listeners.  I think he's making a reference towards young people that are stimulated not only by the music, but from visual images associated with it.  On a side note, my friend Jon and I were obsessed with Bernstein back in college.  At one point I had a picture of him conducting taped to my locker at school.  We called him Lenny B, hence the title of this post.  He was such an inspired conductor, educator, and composer.  I could watch West Side Story right now!  It's so addictive.  In fact, let's take some time and watch a video of him conducting I Feel Pretty.


Sunday, April 8, 2012

The Tour

Hi all!

It's great to be back at school after a whirlwind tour with the Iowa Brass Quintet.  I have been so lucky to have been apart of the group for the past year.  We all learned quite a bit on tour, I certainly did.  I'll give you the run-down.

Our first stop was a small high school/jr. high in southern Iowa called Central Lee High School.  It was our first live performance together and the kids really enjoyed it.  We headed back to Iowa City that same day and the next day we set off at 10 am towards Missouri.  It was at Maryville that we gave a master class.  The college was small, but the students were great.  They have a lot of potential and they were also great to work with.

Our next stop was the next day in Lawrence, Kansas.  That day the weather was just perfect for playing and after we had lunch at a Mediterranean place, we headed over and played our program.  It was interesting to be in that environment as a student.  Besides sometimes adding my own comments, I was definitely learning a lot about teaching and what it means to be a professional.  That same day we headed up to Kansas City, MO.  We stopped at UMKC for a bit and gave a master class and  answered some questions.  I met few people there and it was great to talk shop with students at a conservatory.  After the concert, we headed over to the cheesecake factory for some seriously delicious food and I got to talk to a few more students there.  Although UMKC is a conservatory, they said it was actually laid back.  I can definitely see that within the brass studio.  Kansas City was amazing, by the way and if you ever get a chance to go, take it!

The last stop we made was to Truman State University in Missouri.  It was small, but their music program is very good!  I was impressed by the students there, not only in their playing, but their demeanor as well.  After we did a master class, Dr. Schendel did kind of a impromptu Q& A with us.  It was such a learning experience and I thought it was fantastic to vibe with other students with the same and sometimes different ideas.  After that we all went out to a jazz concert at a theater.  It was really fantastic.  I don't remember the name of the group, but they came down from New York to this little town called Kirksville to give us some great tunes.  That definitely topped the night off.

I learned quite a bit traveling with the Iowa Brass Quintet.  I won't forget the experience and I'm glad I made some new contacts.

That's all! See you in class tomorrow!