February 24, 2018  

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Free Jazz Concerts Scheduled for Nov. 12-13 at Southern Miss

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Ryan Raziano

Two great evenings of jazz are in store for the Pine Belt, courtesy of The University of Southern Mississippi School of Music.

On Monday, Nov. 12 at 8 p.m. in Bennett Auditorium, recent jazz studies graduate Ryan Raziano will lead Jazz Lab Band II in a performance dedicated to Jerry Ball, a Southern Miss alum and Razziano’s teacher who passed away last week.

Then on Tuesday, Nov. 13 at 7:30 p.m., Jazz Lab Band I under the direction of Larry Panella will take the Bennett Auditorium stage in an eclectic program, featuring everything from arrangements of standards to the contemporary music of Radiohead.

Both concerts are free and open to the public.

“We are playing a variety of pieces we have been working on for our performance in January for the Jazz Education Network National Conference in Atlanta,” said Panella. “The bands have a lot of new faces and they are quite talented. I am looking forward to this performance to show them off.”

On Monday night, the program will feature a variety of pieces including a contemporary arrangement of the jazz classic "Work Song" originally made famous by the Cannonball Adderley Quintet. They will also be doing some vocal pieces featuring Southern Miss junior Angel Butler. In addition, they will visit some great works by great arrangers including Sammy Nestico, Bob Mintzer, and many more.

On the concert dedication, Razziano said, “Mr. Ball was my first mentor on the saxophone, and the first to really introduce me to playing jazz. He was a huge influence on how I play, and he's the main reason that I'm even in a music school right now.”

Tuesday night will feature a mix of new and old pieces along with a few new treatments of standard repertoire. The new pieces include “Leaving” by Richie Beirach and arranged by Jim McNeely of the Vanguard Jazz Orchestra and the Carnegie Hall Jazz Band. McNeely is amongst the best of modern writers for concert big band music. Another new selection is the Radiohead classic, "High and Dry" arranged for big band by Bob Washut.

“My sons are all avid Radiohead fans and I've found their music to be very interesting,” said Panella. “I took a chance that this might be something different for us to program, and it has been a great piece to work on with the band.”

The “older” pieces are by no means old-sounding. Timeless in their appeal, they include Thad Jone's "Tip Toe," Oliver Nelson's clarinet feature entitled "Ballad for Benny (Goodman)," and an arrangement of Cole Porter's, "What is This Thing Called Love?" written by Tommy Newsome of the NBC Tonight Show Orchestra and originally featuring Doc Severinsen on the trumpet. 

For more information, contact the Southern Miss School of Music at 601.266.5543.