By Tiffany Edwards, University Relations

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The UNCG Jazz Ensemble has recently received national recognition for its 2004 recording, “Live with Dewey Redman.” The CD was awarded a Blue Chip Jazz CD Award, in the Campus CD division, by Herb Wong, reviewer for the Jazz Education Journal.
“The ensemble has always been recognized within the state but it is the first time we’ve been recognized nationally. It feels good,” said Steve Haines, director of the Miles Davis Jazz Studies Program at the UNCG School of Music.
The CD, released in October of 2004, was recorded live in Aycock Auditorium on May 1 of that year. Redman’s performance with the ensemble was sponsored in part by the North American Saxophone Alliance and the Piedmont Jazz Festival.
The concert and subsequent recording were unique because together they represented the first time Redman’s music had ever been arranged for a large ensemble. The music was transcribed by students of the Miles Davis Jazz Studies Program.
Upon the CD’s release, Wong said in a review, “An uncommon experience, this CD delivers rich dividends” and “the students’ artistic maturity is nothing short of impressionable and victorious.”
Haines said the arrangements retained the integrity of Redman’s compositions, often borrowing solos and melodies directly from the original works. For example, a piano line in Redman’s original was adapted to a horn line in the student’s arrangement. Redman was honored by the results, Haines said, adding that the saxophonist has subsequently called him to request additional CDs for his family.
The CD comprises 10 tracks, among them “Stronger Than Dirt,” a Steve Haines original. Student arrangers include Art White (“Boo Boo Doop”), Peter Maness (“Day Star Night Light”), Al Buccola (“Le Clit”), Michael Sailors (“Blues for J.A.M.”), John Henry (“I Pimp”), Michael Van Patter (“Need to Be”), and John Cave (“Lop o Lop”). They are currently investigating the possibility of publishing their arrangements so that other programs with large ensembles can also perform Redman’s music.
The ensemble shared the Jazz Education Journal honor with other respected jazz programs across the nation: the Manhattan School of Music Jazz Orchestra, the University of North Texas One O’Clock and Two O’Clock jazz bands, the University of North Florida Jazz Ensemble, the University of Northern Iowa Band One, Mt. Hood Community College and Texas Christian University Jazz Ensemble.
Next year will bring an exciting schedule for the UNCG Jazz Ensemble. On Jan. 13, the musicians will travel to New York to appear at “The Dizzy Club,” part of Lincoln Center, and in February, the program will host a Miles Davis tribute concert featuring drummer Jimmy Cobb. For more information about the Miles Davis Jazz Studies program, visit http://jazz.uncg.edu.