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UMaine Jazz Ensemble and Jazz Combo Concert Dec. 4

Contact: Media contact: Joe Carr at (207) 581-3571

ORONO — The University of Maine Jazz Ensemble and Jazz Combo will take the Hauck Auditorium stage for a concert on Thursday, Dec. 4 at 7:30 p.m.  Karel Lidral, director of jazz studies and associate professor of music at UMaine, directs both groups.

The Jazz Ensemble will perform several pieces, including Victor Feldman’s and Miles Davis’ composition, “Seven Steps to Heaven.”  It has been cast, Lidral says. in a stunning arrangement for jazz big band by veteran composer/arranger Manny Mendelson.  Filled with exciting compositional twists and turns, this chart features solos from trumpet player Justin Obie, tenor saxophonist Steve Barter, and drummer Arthur Lidral.  Oliver Nelson’s “Yearnin’” appears in the arrangement as performed by the Oliver Nelson Orchestra.  Featuring soloists Justin Drew and Justin Obie on trumpet, as well as John Maclaine on trombone, Lidral describes this piece as “a true original.”  “Lush Life,” a ballad penned by Billy Strayhorn (of Duke Ellington fame) and arranged by the great Phil Wilson, features John Maclaine on trombone and Justin Obie on trumpet.  The quintessential big band classic “April in Paris”  will be performed with the Jazz Ensemble playing an arrangement that was actually recorded by the Count Basie Orchestra, every note and nuance painstakingly transcribed by jazz transcription specialist Jeff Hest.

Other pieces that the Jazz Ensemble will perform include originals by Neil Slater (“Listen”) and Dave Hanson (“Passado”), as well as arrangements of great jazz standards including Percy Mayfield’s “Lost Mind,” Herbie Hancock’s “Wiggle Waggle,” Cole Porter’s “It’s All Right With Me,” Tiny Bradshaw’s “Jersey Bounce,” and Jerome Kern’s “All the Things You Are” (in a samba setting).

The Jazz Combo has an equally ambitious program.  The nine-piece group will play a set consisting of four pieces, chosen from the combo’s repertory from this semester.  Works performed this semester include four pieces in swing style (“Call Me Irresponsible,” “I Remember You,” “Stolen Moments,” and “Have You Met Miss Jones?”), two Latin American works (“Song For My Father” and “How Insensitive”), the jazz waltz “My Favorite Things,” and the wonderful ballad “I Can’t Get Started.”

The Dec. 4 concert concludes the jazz program’s performances for the fall semester.  On November 5, both groups performed in the Stearns High School auditorium in Millinocket;  on Nov. 6, the Jazz Ensemble performed an evening concert in the North Pod of the Memorial Union;  and on Nov. 14, the Jazz Combo played in the noon TGIF jazz series in Union Station, also in the Memorial Union.

Admission for the Dec. 4 concert will cost $6 per person, with UMaine students admitted free with a MaineCard.  To order tickets, please call the Maine Center for the Arts box office at 581-1755 or 1-800-MCA-TIXX.  More information is available online, at

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