The award-winning Murray State University Jazz Orchestra, Jazz Band and the Blue and Gold Jazz Combos will present a Fall Campus Concert at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday in historic Lovett Auditorium. The concert is free. Paris native Todd E. Hill, professor of music, is the director of the university’s jazz studies program and directs all four groups.
According to the MSU press release, the Jazz Orchestra will play a wide-ranging repertoire including “Move” by Miles Davis, Les Brown’s “I’ve Got My Love to Keep Me Warm,” Stan Kenton’s “My Funny Valentine,” the Jaco Pastorius version of James Brown’s “The Chicken,” Woody Herman’s “Things Ain’t What They Used to Be,” a brand-new feature by Rick Hirsch for the band’s bass trombone section, “Strut,” and Sammy Nestico’s new chart of the Charlie Barnet big band classic, “Skyliner.”
Senior vocalist Kayla Marie Little of Murray will join the band for vocal selections including the standard “Paper Moon” by Harold Arlen and E.Y. Harburg and “I Like the Sunrise” composed by Duke Ellington for his “Liberian Suite” and recorded by Ella Fitzgerald. The Jazz Orchestra will perform by special invitation in February at the 2020 Elmhurst College Jazz Festival in Chicago.
The Jazz Band will be performing a number of big band classics, including Claude Thornhill’s “Robbins’ Nest,” Louis Armstrong’s “Baby, Won’t You Please Come Home,” Tommy Dorsey’s “I’m Getting Sentimental Over You,” Oliver Nelson’s “Emancipation Blues,” and two new compositions, “Night of the Mojito,” a boogaloo by Andrew Neu, and “Absoludicrous” by Gordon Goodwin.
The Murray State Blue and Gold Jazz Combos will make brief appearances on the program, with the Gold Combo performing Nat Adderley’s “Work Song” and Dizzy Gillespie’s “Night in Tunisia,” and the Blue Combo playing Cannonball Adderley’s “Sack o’ Woe” and Lee Morgan’s “Ceora.”
Under Hill’s leadership, the Murray State Jazz Orchestra has produced four CD releases (the fifth and sixth are in production) and has performed three times at the famed Elmhurst College Jazz Festival, garnering “Outstanding Big Band” recognition, among other soloist awards, and the prestigious MidWest International Band Clinic. The group has performed four times at the Kentucky Music Educators Association Conference as a featured group.