jazz

Recap: 14th Annual Moores Jazz Festival

The 14th Annual MSM Jazz Festival welcomed several schools from across not only Houston, but the entire south Texas region, and (as usual) we were impressed by the amount of talent heard during our two-day event. Each year’s bands continue to improve their skills along with their competitive spirit. Our judging panel had to spend a LOT of time deciding the results of each day’s activities. We are truly encouraged and inspired by the abundance of great jazz ensembles throughout the state of Texas.

Friday evening’s concert featured the Texas Music Festival Jazz Project, Houston’s all-star big band, and Saturday evening showcased saxophonist Seamus Blake with the MSM Jazz Orchestra. This may seem biased, but both evening’s performances were superb. Seamus Blake especially delivered on Saturday evening, performing a mix of his own original music with classic jazz and one standout composition by Vickie Yang. We were very happy to have him visit and contribute his knowledge in the afternoon clinics, as well. Any fan of jazz will want to take notice of Blake now as his star continues to rise in the jazz world. He is a fantastic musician who already boasts a distinguished pedigree and certainly has a promising future.

Thanks to our judges: Joel Fulgham, Johnny Gonzales and Armin Marmolejo for their great work. A HUGE thanks goes out to each school and band director for attending our festival; it cannot exist without your support and we hope that both you and your students gained some experience, knowledge and joy from this year’s event.

Outstanding High School of the Festival
Spring High School Jazz Band

Outstanding Middle School of the Festival
Memorial Middle School Jazz 1 – Harlingen, TX

Outstanding Soloist of the Festival
Clayton Farris, HSPVA

Outstanding High School of Friday
Katy High School Jazz Band

Outstanding Soloist of Friday
Clayton Farris, HSPVA

Outstanding High School of Saturday
Harlingen High School Honors Jazz

Outstanding Middle School of Saturday
Crosby Middle School

Outstanding Soloist of Saturday
Jessica Davis, Harlingen High School

All-Star Awards

Crosby Middle School, dir. Don Heaselet
Marcel Camacho
Shelby Innmon

Dekaney High School, dir. Trent Cooper & Ramsey Hampton
Jose Escovedo
Henry Espinoza
Kahlil Pinson

Harlingen High School, dir. Ronnie Rios, Maria Coronado & Marc Telles
David Dorado
Aaron Gomez
Juan Maldonado
AJ Padilla
TJ Saenz

Hastings High School, dir. Erich Sonnier & Paul Brodt
Luis Chacon
Emmanuel Otinwa
Salvador Velasco

Hightower High School, dir. Eduardo Tito Hernandez
Ashley Bacon
Davonte Jackson
Lumina Meneres

Houston School for the Performing and Visual Arts, dir. Warren Sneed
Ben Ackley
Paul Cornish
Jeremy Dorsey
Jeremy Dritton
James Francis
John Koozin
Blake Opper
Sterling Overshown
Andrew Sneed
Alex Wheeler

James E. Taylor High School, dir. Bruce Melville
Erik Jaimes
Thomas Zak

Katy High School, dir. Terence Gorton & Andrew Lee
Blake Meynig
Jessica Mortensen
Ryan Wollenberg

Lake Olympia Middle School, dir. Ray Hundl
Sahir Kahn

Memorial Middle School, Harlingen, TX, dir. James Keltner & Julissa Garcia
Dylan Flores
Alyssa Uribe

Quail Valley Middle School, dir. Kenny Borak
David Young

Pasadena High School, dir. Jacob Faske
Oscar Cruz
Eric Peña

Seven Lakes High School, dir. Geroge Archer & Jonathan Yoo
David Rebellon
Luis Quintero
Shane Smith
Austin Snowden

Spring High School, dir. J.D. Guzman
Victor Gonzalez
Theo Meadough
Zach Robinson

Spring Woods High School, dir. Jeffrey Munger
Kyle Guillemette

Waltrip High School, dir. Charlie Stephens & Jesse Espinoza
Jose Barrios
Mario Derreza
Johnny Olivares
Christina Peña
Carnell Simmons

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

Quantum Mechanics concert October 3

We at the MSM Jazz Department are pleased to announce a special concert featuring UH alumnus and saxophone instructor, Woody Witt. Dr. Witt is part of a new collective group called Quantum Mechanics. The group features original material played in all forms and styles of contemporary jazz music.  Quantum Mechanics is rounded out by a rhythm section featuring Eric Wollman (guitar, compositions), Jim Donica (bass, compositions), Peter Grant (drums) and Witt on saxes and compositions.  The rhythm section is based in NYC and have played together for about 10 years and in that time have accomplished a high level of musical communication and interplay within their ensemble.

The new collective has been enjoying a very busy fall with an extensive tour of the Southern United States and we are very excited to have them stop by the University of Houston just before they record all their material for a debut album.

Concert details
Quantum Mechanics
Monday, October 3, 7:30pm
Dudley Recital Hall (located inside the Fine Arts building)
Admission is free and open to the public

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.

Spring concert to feature many new works by students and alumni

Aaron Lington Henry Darragh Ryan Gabbart

Spring is here, which means that our concert season and semester are coming to a close here at the Moores School of Music. That’s good news for our students and even better news for our audience. Why, you ask? Because some of the finest performances of the year will close out the season from all departments within the school. If you are able to make it to any of these final concerts, we suggest that you do so! Click here to stay informed.

Coming off a successful and well-attended Jazz Festival, the jazz department’s final concert will feature both jazz ensembles playing a mix of classic and new big band jazz. The concert What we’re most excited about, however, is the inclusion of several new works written by students and alumni of the Moores School of Music.

Last month, Ryan Gabbart was featured as a guest writer for Mike Emery’s Chron.com blog, Creative Pride, and two of the notable “Jazz Cats” mentioned will have their works performed. Henry Darragh’s “Late Night Latin” is a sizzling latin jazz composition in the traditional style, featuring a big brass sound and exciting soli writing for big band. Aaron Lington’s “Evensong” is a new ballad featuring the baritone saxophone that could best be described as music with a brilliant contemporary jazz sound. In addition to this, Gabbart (also a UH alum) will have his new arrangement of Jimmy Garrison’s “Ascendant” performed.

George Heathco Gerald Massoud

Two current Moores School graduate students will also have their works premiered. Bassist Gerald Massoud’s arrangement of the classic “Besame Mucho” is written big band and a vocalist in a 1950s lounge style, but is updated with a fantastic salsa section. George Heathco’s “Shred!” is a modern, complicated piece based on many new progressive rock styles with fantastic results. The composition has proven to be difficult to learn but rewarding in so many ways, both to the musicians and (we think) to the audience as well.

We can guarantee a great evening full of superb music and dedicated musicians who have worked long and hard all year long to prepare their craft for this moment. We hope that you will enjoy it as much as we have in preparing this finale.

Concert will take place Tuesday, April 19 at 7:30pm in the Moores Opera HouseTicket information available here, or call (713) 743.3313

Full program (in no particular order):

Toe Be or Not Toe Be, David Metzger
A Little Happiness, Sammy Nestico
Payback, Mike Tomaro
Walkin’ Shoes, Gerry Mulligan
The Easy Swing, Bob Mintzer
Late Night Latin, Henry Darragh
The Game is Over, Jukka Linkola
Ascendant, arr. Ryan Gabbart
Alone Together, arr. Tom Kubis
Besame Mucho, arr. Gerald Massoud
Shred!, George Heathco
Evensong, Aaron Lington
I Ain’t Gonna Ask No More, Toshiko Akiyoshi

Recap: 13th Annual Moores School Jazz Festival

The state of Texas is full of vibrant, young talent. Last weekend was a chance to hear students perform from various middle schools and high schools not only from Houston, but also Alvin, Austin, Freeport, Harlingen and Waller. We hope that students and directors alike enjoyed their experience and were able to gain some helpful information from the clinics of Mr. Noe Marmolejo and our panel of judges: Joel Fulgham, Bobby Guess and Dr. Woody Witt. If  you attended the free afternoon master class with trombone great Andy Martin, then you’ll understand why we put this event on each year. The joy and excitement of making music is something that we try and spread throughout the younger jazz community and it’s encouraging to see such a wonderful response from this audience to such a masterful artist as Mr. Martin.

Thanks to all the schools and directors for participating in this year’s festival. We cannot do this without you. We hope to see you all (and many more) next year!

Outstanding High School of the Festival
Katy High School Jazz Band

Outstanding Middle School of the Festival
Lake Olympia Middle School

Outstanding Soloist of the Festival
Paige Fenderson, Seven Lakes High School

Outstanding High School of Friday
Katy High School Jazz Band

Outstanding Middle School of Friday
Freeport Intermediate

Outstanding Soloist of Friday
Paige Fenderson, Seven Lakes High School

Outstanding High School of Saturday
Anderson High School, Austin, TX

Outstanding Middle School of Saturday
Memorial Middle School I, Harlingen, TX

Outstanding Soloist of Saturday
Willie Britten III, Kashmere High School

All-Star Awards

Alvin High School, dir. Ryan Demkovich
Matthew Mondragon
Wyatt Sustaita

Anderson High School, dir. Adam Wiencken
Patrick Brinkman
Rebecca Teng

Hastings High School, dir. Erich Sonnier & Paul Brodt
Jordan Addison
Hope Atina
Kevin Le
Jamill Montoya
Courtland Stewart

Hightower High School, dir. Eduardo Tito Hernandez
Davonte Jackson
Daniel Ward

HSPVA, dir. Warren Sneed
Jalon Archie
Paul Cornish
John Guttman
Jyron Walls

James E. Taylor High School, dir. Bruce Melville
Juan Perez
Daniel Silliman
Thomas Zak

Kashmere High School, dir. Claude Robinson
Willie Britton III
Joshua Stiegall
Justin Williams

Katy High School, dir. Terence Gorton & Andrew Lee
Blake Meynig
Mickey  Angel

Lake Olympia Middle School, dir. Ray Hundl
Erin Kier
Devin Monroe
Steven Taylor

Memorial Middle School, dir. James Keltner & Julissa Garcia
Miguel Aguilar
Stephen Flores
Myles Rosenbaum
Adrian Vitello
Cecilia Pena

Quail Valley Middle School, dir. Kenny Borak
Fabian Romo

Pasadena High School, dir. Jacob Faske
Fernando Zuniga

Seven Lakes High School, dir. Geroge Archer & Jonathan Yoo
Paige Fenderson
Karen Wylie

Spring High School, dir. Joe Clark
Jacob Cullen
Taji Henley
Jonathan Jones
Theo Meadough
Amber Orosco
Austin Weil

Spring Woods High School, dir. Jeffrey Munger
Kierra Dotson

Waltrip High School, dir. Charlie Stephens & Jesse Espinoza
Daniel Covarrubias
Mike Pyankovsky
Harold Sedano
Greg Vega

Spring 2011 course offering: John Coltrane

Interested in studying the life and career of jazz legend John Coltrane? Maybe you just want to expand or brush up on your existing knowledge of his music. Either way, this spring semester offers you a great chance to do just that with Survey of Jazz Masters. The course, for UH Moores School music students, is small and held in a graduate seminar style. This means that there is more discussion and less lecture! Also, the final grade is determined by projects and NOT by exams. It’s an exciting and investigative course for those who are passionate about exploring new avenues in modern music.

Course details:
Survey of Jazz Masters, MUSI 4397
Section 21446
10-11am, MWF
Available to music majors only
Completion of Music History III is required

The 13th Annual Moores School of Music Jazz Festival

featuring trombonist Andy Martin

February 25 & 26, 2011


We are very pleased to announce that the 13th Annual MSM Jazz Festival will feature world renowned jazz artist Andy Martin. Be prepared for full weekend of jazz excitement featuring regional junior high and high schools, the Texas Music Festival Jazz Project, free clinics and Andy Martin’s performance with the MSM Jazz Orchestra. That’s a lot to take in, so make your plans now!

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

Fall concert 2010

Yes, it’s already fall and the end of Daylight Savings Time, which means that Thanksgiving is almost here, which also means that all our schedules are about get busy. Why not spend your last few, precious hours of free time with us, the MSM Jazz Department? Did you know that our next concert will be on Tuesday, November 16 at 7:30pm in the Moores Opera House? Well then, consider yourself informed.

The MSM Jazz Ensemble and Jazz Orchestra will be featured in what has proven to be a challenging concert program. Seriously, the music is not easy; you try and play a transcription of Michael Brecker’s solo on “Slings and Arrows” (these guys are pretty close). But while the program is challenging, it will definitely not disappoint. These young musicians are a dedicated bunch, and the concert speaks for itself. So, if you’re still not planning on attending, consider yourself unlucky. Click here for ticket information.

The program will feature (in no particular order):

It’s a Most Unusual Day, arr. James Sochinski
Ruben Sepulveda, tenor sax
Andrew Dugas, guitar

Wave, arr. Michael Philip Mossman
Nick Madden, baritone sax

Quietude, Thad Jones
Tim McBreen, trumpet
Chris Mauldin, piano

Just When I’m Thinkin’ ‘Bout You, Rob Vuono, Jr.
Rick Harris, trombone

Albequirky, Dan Cavanagh
Ruben Sepulveda, tenor sax
Alex Winkler, piano

Slings and Arrows, arr. Rob Lussier
Landon Petersen, guitar
Eric Bustamante, tenor sax
David Ramirez, piano
Chad Tumminello, drums

Black Rattle, Dan Cavanagh
David Ramirez, piano
Cameron Kubos, trumpet
Chad Tumminello, drums

ABC Blues, Bob Brookmeyer
Grant Martin, drums
Gerald Massoud, bass
Cody Garrett, piano
John St. Julian, trumpet
Eric Bustamante, tenor sax
Bob Eason, alto sax
Henry Darragh, trombone

Common Ground, Neil Slater
Henry Darragh, piano
Darrell Materum, alto sax

Bloomdido, arr. Mike Crotty
Bob Eason, EWI
Henry Darragh, trombone

Also featuring thorough program notes and some uncomfortable banter. See you there!