MANSFIELD - Mansfield University will present an evening of jazz, featuring two big bands, two combos and a special appearance by the Mansfieldians, at 7:30 tonight in Steadman Theatre.
The concert is free and open to the public.
The Jazz Lab Band is in its fourth year at Mansfield and will present a diverse program, ranging from traditional big band repertoire to jazz adaptations of modern popular songs.
They will kick off the show with the Woody Herman classic, "Four Brothers," a staple in the Herman library for years, having been written to feature his outstanding saxophone section. The Lab Band sax section consists of Deanna Stevens, Patti Spisak, Mike Gorzelsky, Keely Bedner and Diamond Brown..
The ballad, "In the Wee Small Hours of the Morning," will be next in the concert.
The Chuck Sayre original blues song, "Keepin' Track of the Time," will give each section of the band a solo spot.
Several soloists will be featured as well, including Mike Gorzelsky on tenor; Deanna Stevens and Patti Spisak on alto; Nick Goldkrantz and Bryan Carr on trumpet; Dave Vet on trombone and the rhythm section; Jen Bolinger on piano; Corey Rader on bass; and John Conover on drums.
The Lab Band will conclude its set with a hard-driving samba by Mike Steinel, "Samba de los Gatos."
The music of Miles Davis will be featured by two MU combos.
"Miles Davis was perhaps the most pivotal figure in jazz over the second half of the 20th Century," Jazz Ensemble Director Michael Galloway said.
"Tunes from two of his most famous and influential recordings will be heard. First from the album, 'Birth of the Cool,' you will hear 'Godchild.' This recording ushered in the era of 'cool' or 'West Coast' jazz, a more laid back reaction to the emotional excesses of bebop. Miles lead a unique group consisting of trumpet, trombone, French horn, tuba, alto and bari sax and rhythm section. The second and perhaps even more important album is 'Kind of Blue.' A great many jazz musicians name this single album as the reason they got interested in jazz. 'So What,' which you will hear ... is probably the single most performed tune from that historic album."
The Jazz Ensemble will close out the show. Its set will include a recent commission, Kim Richmond's "Cease and Desist," featuring Chris Simmons on trumpet.
Alto saxophonist Deanna Lemmon will be featured on another Kim Richmond tune, "Funny Valentine."
"It is different and it is gorgeous," Galloway said.
Several members of the band will perform solo on Howie Smith's "Amphibology."