Moores School of Music

First concert of the season to feature “Jazz at the Movies”

This is going to be a big one.

From the first talkie to the sulky background music of film noir, jazz and American movies really do go hand-in-hand. Jazz music and jazz artists have played an important role in America’s popular culture, as motion pictures have documented for generations of audiences, so our season opener on October 8 will celebrate jazz in film. “Moores School of Music: Jazz at the Movies” will feature not only the well-known classics, but also offer some new arrangements and different interpretations of classic film scores for big band. All this (and some other surprises) will help bring the movies to life in a unique concert experience that you won’t want to miss.

October 8, 7:30p
Moores School of Music Opera House
You can buy tickets online here or at the box office on the evening of the concert

Program is as follows (in no particular order):

“As Time Goes By” – arr. Don Schamber (from Casablanca)
“Blues in Hoss Flat” – Frank Foster (from The Errand Boy)
“Cinema” – arr. Ryan Gabbart (featuring themes from Taxi Driver, You Only Live Twice, Chinatown, The Good, The Bad and The Ugly)
“Film Noir, Part II” – Chris Walden
“Moon River” – arr. Frank Mantooth (from Breakfast at Tiffany’s)
“Salsation” – arr. Horace Alexander Young (from Saturday Night Fever)
“Sherlock Holmes” – arr. Gerald Massoud (from Sherlock Holmes)
“Sunny Ray” – Ray Santos (from The Mambo Kings)

A real live one – The 15th Moores School of Music Annual Jazz Festival

Lew Soloff

Lew Soloff (Photo credit: nadworks)

featuring Lew Soloff

February 22 & 23, 2013

Holy smokes, this is going to be a great one! We are welcoming back the great Lew Soloff to MSM and we couldn’t be more thrilled. Lew gave one of the best performances in the history of our jazz festival the last time he visited in 2004. He is not only a trumpet player of tremendous talent, but also someone who brings some of the best music you will hear performed by a big band. Click here for the write-up by the UH Communication School’s Mike Emery.

Friday evening’s concert will showcase The Texas Music Festival Jazz Project, a big band made up of Texas-based jazz professionals, while Saturday evening’s performance belongs to Lew Soloff with the MSM Jazz Orchestra.* It promises to be an exciting event full of masterful musicianship, education and great jazz. If you are a student, teacher, professional musician or just a jazz fan we guarantee that you will not want to miss this weekend’s activities!

The Moores School of Music Jazz Festival features performances from middle and high schools throughout the day as well as two free clinics with Lew Soloff and the Jazz Orchestra at noon each day. No admission fee is required to observe these school performances or clinics.

*Purchase tickets to all evening events by clicking here, both concerts will start at 7:30p.

Click here for more information on the festival, including schedule, ticket information and details on how your school can participate.

Welcome to fall – First concert is October 9

Ah, yes. Fall is finally here! Houstonians can finally return to the outdoors, enjoy the 6-week “changing of the leaves” and start looking forward to the upcoming holiday season. But most importantly, school is in session, which means that we’re rolling out another busy concert season at The Moores School of Music. October 9 is our first concert and looks to be a superb affair, but this is only preparation for what is to come with the jazz department’s record-setting season! We will have a total of three guest artists performing with the jazz ensembles this year and we are very excited to have secured a permanent guest artist residency program. (details forthcoming)

For now, though, we hope that you will be able to join us as we celebrate the tradition of jazz in yet another concert of firsts. In particular, this concert will premiere a new work by our resident drummer/composer/graduate student, Daniel Webbon, in addition to the ongoing series of Houston premieres for the Radiohead Jazz Project. And as always, there will be surprises. Would you expect anything less?! So please, come one, come all! We are thrilled to be presenting this music in such a great city as Houston during its finest season.

Tuesday, October 9 at 7:30pm in the Moores Opera HouseClick here to purchase tickets online.

Program is as follows:

Jazz Ensemble

 Alone Together, arr. Dave Wolpe
Spring Ain’t Here, arr. Bob Curnow
Look for the Silver Lining, arr. Jerry Nowak
Wind Machine, Sammy Nestico

Jazz Orchestra

Maxwell D. Cat, Paul Baker
How Do You Keep the Music Playing?, arr. Mike Crotty
Kid A, arr. Chuck Owen
The Peacocks, arr. Bill Holman
Surrey on the Fringe, arr. Daniel Webbon
Strike Up the Band, arr. Sammy Nestico

Woody Witt and Joe LoCascio Duo perform Friday, September 21

In 2009, the duo of saxophonist Woody Witt and pianist Joe LoCascio released the album Seasons Ago: The Songs of Alec Wilder. In this volume of rather obscure songs by one of American music’s great composers, the duo sought to explore and offer a wider perspective on Wilder’s work resulting in “ten tracks and ten moments of exquisite melody and harmony”.

This time, the duo are at it again, tackling the music of Duke Ellington’s esteemed collaborator, Billy Strayhorn. Aside from his most popular tunes (“Take the ‘A’ Train”, “Lush Life”), Strayhorn’s repertoire consists of several lesser known wonders. To most jazz aficionados, his ballads “Chelsea Bridge”, “A Flower is a Lovesome Thing” and “Isfahan” are probably the most loved. But Strayhorn’s swinging side was nothing to shrug off, as evidenced by the posthumous album …And His Mother Called Him Bill.

Last year, the LoCascio/Witt duo recorded many of these obscure Strayhorn compositions for an album in the same vein as the Wilder songs. While the album is still yet to be released, Friday evening’s concert will offer a great preview of what is to come. The two have played together for the past 20 years and their time together has enabled them to achieve, in Witt’s own words, “a strong level of musical communication. Very seldom do we rehearse for duo performances. Even the [Wilder and Strayhorn] recordings were put together with very little rehearsal time. Joe has really been the musicologist of the duo.  He transcribed all the tunes, for both projects.  Some of the Strayhorn tunes we recorded, I’ve never heard played in a small group setting.”

UPDATE: Read Chris Becker’s profile of Joe LoCascio at Culturemap

The concert takes place Friday, September 21 at 7:30pm in the Moores Opera House. Click here to purchase tickets online.

The 14th Annual Moores School of Music Jazz Festival

Seamus Blake

Seamus Blake (Photo credit: TurboFreddy)

featuring saxophonist Seamus Blake

February 24 & 25, 2012

We are very pleased to announce that the 14th Annual MSM Jazz Festival will feature world renowned jazz artist Seamus Blake.

The Moores School of Music Jazz Festival features performances from middle and high schools throughout the day as well as two free clinics with Seamus Blake and the Jazz Orchestra at noon each day. No admission fee is required to observe these school performances or clinics.

Friday evening’s concert will showcase The Texas Music Festival Jazz Project, a big band made up of Texas-based jazz professionals, while Saturday evening’s performance belongs to Seamus Blake with the MSM Jazz Orchestra.* It promises to be an exciting event full of masterful musicianship, education and great jazz. If you are a student, teacher, professional musician or just a jazz fan we guarantee that you will not want to miss this weekend’s activities!

Click here for more information on the festival, including schedule, ticket information and details on how your school can participate.

*Evening events are ticketed

The 2011 Texas Music Festival opens June 7

You won’t ever have a better reason to come out and hear some great jazz music than Tuesday evening (June 7). The 2011 Texas Music Festival will kick off its season with an outdoor party taking place at 6:30 pm in the Moores Opera House courtyard.  This pre-concert event will feature UH students and alums, with pre-concert music provided by the Henry Darragh Quartet. Food will be served from the Camarena Tequila Food Truck, helmed by Chefs Hugo and Ruben Ortega of Hugo’s Restaurant.

The concert will begin in the Moores Opera House at 7:30pm. Tickets are available for purchase here. We are finally selling tickets online!!!

Program is as follows:

Back to Basieques, Matt Catingub
Bolivia, arr. David Metzger
A Child’s Dance, Woody Witt, arr. Aaron Lington
Donnie’s Tempo, Michael Kocour
Evensong, Aaron Lington
Kickin’ and Screamin’, Chuck Owen
The Palmieri Effect, Brian Lynch
Surge, Chuck Owen

Saxophones
David Caceres
Kelly Dean
Woody Witt
Warren Sneed
Karl Fulbright

Trumpets
Gary Weldon
Dennis Dotson
Danny Wilson
Mike Harris

Trombones
Ryan Gabbart
Armin Marmolejo
Ed Lowe
Bruce Melville
Carl Muller

Rhythm Section
Mike Wheeler, guitar
Ken Ward, piano
Anthony Sapp, bass
Joel Fulgham, drums

This will be the Houston premier of the 2011 Texas Music Festival, but for jazz fans outside of Houston, the TMF Jazz Project will perform on Monday, June 6 at the Annenberg Presidential Conference Center on the Texas A&M University campus at 7:30 p.m.

Sponsored by KTSU 90.9 The Choice FM and Defender Network.

Texas Music Festival Summer Jazz Institute, June 12-17

Summer may not officially begin until June 21, but at the Moores School of Music summer always starts with the Texas Music Festival. While the majority of the festival is a workshop for college-level musicians, the jazz department hosts an annual  Jazz Institute for high school students.

The TMF Jazz Institute is a week-long, intensive program for younger players with an interest in learning about and performing jazz music. Students are given the chance to rehearse with some of the best and brightest young performers from across the city in a big band setting under direction by MSM Director of Jazz Studies, Noe Marmolejo.

Afternoon classes include:

  • Instrumental sectionals with some of Houston’s top professional jazz players
  • Music theory: the building blocks of music, learning jazz nomenclature, chords and scales
  • Jazz improvisation: applying theory to your instrument, learning basic soloing techniques
  • Master class jam sessions: our talented faculty gets a chance to show off their skills in an unrehearsed concert

We are always excited to be able to offer this course each summer.  The TMF Jazz Institute is a great way for any aspiring  young musician to get ahead in their pursuit of a musical career. For details and application information, click here.