NIC jazz concert ‘Sweet Singing Suites' tonight!


Members of the NIC Jazz Ensemble take the stage at a past performance. The ensemble will perform “Sweet Singing Suites” on April 26.

Everyone is invited to come and join the North Idaho College Jazz Ensemble and Cardinal Vocal Jazz for the annual spring concert, “Sweet Swinging Suites” at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, April 26, at Boswell Hall Schuler Performing Arts Center.

Having just returned from a recent performance at the DeMiero Jazz Festival in Edmonds Washington, Cardinal Vocal Jazz will open the concert with many toe tapping numbers and swinging vocal charts. Many numbers of the program will feature soloists from the ensemble.

“Patty Török-Pierce will be featured on the Duke Ellington classic ‘In a Mellow Tone,’” said NIC Director of Choirs Max Mendez. “Angela Dredge will be featured on the beautiful Marvin Hamlisch ballad, “A Woman’s Voice.”

The ensemble will also feature a number arranged by Mendez, Carlos Jobim’s melancholy “How Insensitive.”

“No one can actually pinpoint the exact time and place where jazz started. The music is a unique blend of African, African American, Latin and Western European music characteristics --America’s musical gumbo. Early jazz was primarily a dance music, music for people to get out of the seats and have a good time,” said NIC Band Director Terry Jones. “It was the genius of Duke Ellington and some others that moved Jazz from the dance floor to the concert hall, opening the door to explore more complicated forms, longer improvised solos, complex meter and a wider range of sounds.”

The NIC Jazz Ensemble will open its portion of the concert with an early concert hall pieces, “Happy-Go-Lucky Local,” from Ellington’s “Deep South Suite.”

“The ‘Deep South Suite’ is one of the many multiple movement suites that display a move toward more concert-oriented music,” Jones said. “Then ‘Happy-Go-Lucky Local’ makes the move without sacrificing its groove.”

The next tune, Buddy Rich’s “Channel One Suite,” is a great representative of a more modern jazz suite. The “Channel One Suite” has multiple movements, in various time signatures and tempo, with a variety of grooves and lots of solo space.

“Since almost the beginning, big bands have reached into pop and theater music for tunes to manipulate,” Jones said. “The Disney classic ‘When You Wish Upon a Star’ provides Chris Walden (the arranger) a rich source of music to toy with.”

Jones said that since jazz music also gives us a way of connecting to music and musician of the past, they will honor the great West Coast alto saxophonist Bud Shank with “Omage To Bud Shank,” featuring lead alto player Seth Marshelak.

“Following that, we would like to tip our hat to the Stan Kenton Orchestra,” Jones said. “The Kenton Orchestra is known for its exploration and expansion of big band music. Kenton, like big bands before him, often reached into the pop world for tunes to arrange. Our Kenton selection is Paul McCartney’s ‘Live and Let Die.’ We would also like to thank the arranger, Bob Curnow, for all his contributions to big band jazz and jazz education, with the playing of this piece. 

The concert will wrap up with another Curnow arrangement, “Beat 70.”  Curnow does a masterful job translating this Pat Metheny/Lyle Mays tune into a big band arrangement, Jones said.

Directed by Jones, the North Idaho College Jazz Ensemble is a collection of jazzers from all over the area. They get together once a week to explore the diversity in big band music. From the swing music of Ellington and Basie though the innovations of Kenton to the contemporary works of Metheny and the Beatles -- nothing is off limits for this group.

Under the direction of Max Mendez, Cardinal Vocal Jazz from NIC is made of up 11 versatile singers and a rhythm section. This group specializes in close harmony and vocal improvisation. Their repertoire includes music of the Great American Songbook, Latin/Bossa Nova selections, and inventive arrangements of today’s popular music.

The concert is free and open to the public.

Information: (208) 769-3424.

Posted: Tuesday, April 26, 2016

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