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FSU’s Department of Music Presents Its Evening of Jazz, “Remembering Oliver Nelson”

Frostburg State University’s Department of Music will present An Evening of Jazz, “Remembering Oliver Nelson,” on Friday, Nov. 17, at 7:30 p.m. in the Pealer Recital Hall of FSU’s Woodward D. Pealer Performing Arts Center. Directed by Dr. Brent Weber, the event will feature the FSU Jazz Orchestra.

The program will include “Stolen Moments,” “Emancipation Blues,” “Black, Brown and Beautiful,” “Hoe Down,” “Ballad for Benny” and “Down by the Riverside” by Oliver Nelson; “Senor Mouse” by Chick Corea, arranged by Mike Tomaro; “Hamp and Dex” by Dexter Gordon, arranged by Ernie Wilkins; and “Malagueña” by Ernesto Lecuona, arranged by Bill Holman.

“Stolen Moments” is a jazz standard. It is a 16-bar piece though the solos are on a conventional minor blues structure. The recording of the song on Nelson’s 1961 album, “The Blues and the Abstract Truth,” led to it being more generally covered.

Opening with a stylish gospel chorale, “Emancipation Blues” is a grand, glorious, romping gospel chart. The song is on “Afro/American Sketches,” a jazz album Nelson recorded in late 1961 and released in 1962.

“Black, Brown and Beautiful” is from the album of the same name that Nelson recorded in 1969 as a tribute to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

“Hoe Down,” inspired by the fourth section of Aaron Copland’s “Rodeo,” is from “The Blues and the Abstract Truth” that Nelson recorded in 1961. It remains his most acclaimed album.

“Ballad for Benny” has a nice, easy swing feel. This is a clarinet feature and was recorded by Phil Woods and Nelson’s Jazz Interactions Orchestra.

Nelson was a very good soloist on tenor, alto and soprano saxophones, but his skills as an arranger-composer eventually overshadowed his playing. In the mid-1960s, he did the writing for an album co-led by organist Jimmy Smith and guitarist Wes Montgomery, including a classic rendition of “Down by the Riverside.”

Recorded by Corea in the early 1970s, “Senor Mouse” is a sophisticated samba that exemplifies him as a skilled and visionary composer.

This great Ernie Wilkins arrangement of “Hamp and Dex” was written for Lionel Hampton in 1980. Wilkins transcribed Gordon’s solo on “Flying Home” and arranged it for the band.

“Malagueña” is a song by Cuban composer Lecuona. It was originally the sixth movement of his “Suite Andalucía” (1933), to which he added lyrics in Spanish. The song has since become a popular, jazz, marching band, and drum and bugle corps standard. In general terms, malagueñas are flamenco dance styles from Málaga, in the southeast of Spain.

Performers are Hailey Beining, Vincent Hangarter, section leader Gabe Hicks, Lucas Lusby, Eileen Martin and Max Partlow on reeds; Patrick Godfrey, M.J. Harden, section leader Joey Orr and Morgan Tichnell on trumpets; Stephen Hess, Doug Holtz, section leader Jack McCoy and Sam White on trombones; and, in the rhythm section, Andrew Gula and Jessica Wilson on guitar, Cayla Gavin on piano, Nick Mellen on bass and Ben Alvey on drum set.

Admission is $10 for adults; $5 for seniors, the military, and FSU faculty and staff; and free for students and children. Tickets are available at the University box office in room 203 of FSU’s Lane University Center (Mondays through Fridays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.), by phone at 301-687-3137 or online at Tickets are also available at the door.

For more information, contact FSU’s Department of Music at 301-687-4109.

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  • Patrice Kelley

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