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Jazz Ensemble

(Mus 410K)
Jazz Ensemble

Instructor of the course is Reggie Padilla. The course is repeatable. Prerequisite: audition or consent.

Audition information. Auditions will be held during the first week of class. Each student will be required to perform a prepared piece. They will also be asked to improvise and sight read. Rhythm section players will be asked to demonstrate various styles (ie swing, latin, funk) in addition to performing a prepared piece, improvising, and sight reading. Please note that registration in the class does not guarantee a position in the Jazz Ensemble.

The University of Hawai`i Jazz Ensemble program is comprised of two to three ensembles numbering approximately twenty members each. The groups provide music majors and non-music majors alike with an opportunity to hone their ensemble, sight-reading and improvisational skills. Participation exposes our students to a truly American music and introduces them to many of jazz's finest practitioners. In 1990 the program established a concert series in the Barbara Smith Amphitheater at the Music Department complex, which has attracted a large and loyal following. Here, each semester, the ensembles pay tribute to the big band jazz legacy, featuring music from the libraries of jazz legends such as Count Basie, Duke Ellington, and Don Ellis. In Spring 1993 the UH Jazz Ensembles saluted the legacy of Stan Kenton with a concert comprised entirely of works from Stan's library, featuring Kenton alumnus Gabe Baltazar as the guest artist.

In addition to Mr. Baltazar, the list of outstanding musicians who have performed with the Unversity's Jazz Ensemble program includes Count Basie's former drummer, Gregg Fields; Bunky Green, who chairs the Jazz Studies program at the University of North Florida; John Chudoba, former lead trumpet for Paul Anka; Charley Davis, noted Los Angeles studio trumpeter; and esteemed jazz educator from Indiana University, Dominic Spera. Other outstanding performers who have shared the stage with the ensembles include David Choy (saxophone), Noel Okimoto (drums), Tim Tsukiyama (saxophone), DeShannon Higa (trumpet), vocalists Jimmy Borges and Shari Lyn, and Matt Catingub, Principal Pops Conductor of the Honolulu Symphony.

To augment our on-campus concerts, the UH Jazz Ensembles have performed (1983-1997) as the featured ensemble at the Kamehameha Schools Jazz Showcase, the Waikiki Ho`olaule`a, the Downtown Ho`olaule`a, and the Hawai`i International Jazz Festival (1994-1998). Such outstanding jazz educators as John Thomas of the University of Southern California; Bunky Green, University of North Florida; Dominic Spera, Indiana University; Phil Wilson, from the Berklee School of Music; and Bill Yeager, San Diego State University have praised the UH Jazz Ensemble for its musicianship and execution through its participation in the annual Hawaii International Jazz Festival.

In the decade of the 1990s the jazz ensemble program witnessed dramatic increases in enrollment. More and more music majors participated. Many current Hawai`i high school band directors are veterans of the program and have encouraged their students to participate upon their arrival at the UH. These alumni understand how a background in jazz rounds out their musical education. For educators faced with the prospect of directing a jazz ensemble at their school, participation in the UH program provides hands-on experience that is not easily obtained in the commercial market. For performers, the jazz ensemble program helps develop the skills necessary for a successful career. Some of Hawai`i's local professional musicians who are alumni of the jazz program include: Tim Tsukiyama (saxophone), Noel Okimoto (drums), Ben Ritveld (bassist with Miles Davis and Santana), Todd Yukumoto (saxophone lecturer at the UH), Jack Davis (New York free-lance musician), DeShannon Higa (outstanding jazz trumpeter), Eric Kop (assistant Horn, Honolulu Symphony), Michael Morita (trumpet, Royal Hawaiian Band), Garry Chun (lead trumpet and computer whiz), Nathan Tanouye (free-lance musician, Las Vegas), Ed Weber (free-lance musician, Seattle), Ira Wong (percussionist with the Honolulu Symphony), Ira Nepus (free-lance studio musician, Los Angeles), and Eric Miyashiro (free-lance trumpeter in Japan and former lead trumpet for the Buddy Rich and Woody Herman bands).

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