woody witt

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.


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