MANSFIELD - Mansfield University will present an evening of jazz, featuring the MU Jazz Ensemble and the Jazz Lab Band, directed by Mike Galloway, at 7:30 p.m. Sunday in Steadman Theatre. The concert is free and open to the public.
The concert will open with the Jazz Lab Band. Now in its fifth year of operation, the ensemble is proving to be a most welcome addition to the MU jazz scene.
Kicking off the program will be Les Hooper's "Poppin' Fresh," a shuffle tune with solos by pianist Jen Bolinger and guitarist Mike Florkowski.
Jim Martin's arrangement of a Sonny Rollins standard, "Doxy," featuring the band's outstanding sax section will follow. Also soloing in this tune will be Patti Spisak on alto sax and trombonists Tim Dyet and Mike Carson.
"The Lab Band is fortunate to have within its ranks, Beth Bentley," Galloway said. "Beth plays trombone in the band but is a voice major and happens to be an outstanding jazz singer. She will be the featured vocalist in the beautiful ballad 'A Nightingale Sang in Berkley Square.' "
The band will conclude its portion of the show with "Feather Report" by Kris Berg.
"Written to capture the style of one of the most famous combos in modern jazz, Weather Report, this is a great funk chart," Galloway said.
The MU Jazz Ensemble will present the second set, which will include a trombone section feature, John Clayton's arrangement of "On the Sunny Side of the Street."
Galloway thinks this trombone section - with Ben Delong, Glen DeGeorge, TJ Harris and Ed Satterfield - is the best trombone section he has ever had.
"They all play, they play great as a section and they all can solo," he said.
The whole band will get a workout with a set of Bob Florence charts, including "Willowcrest," Carmelo's "By the Freeway," "Jewels" and "Flight of Fancy."
"Florence is unique among big band writers in that he writes for six saxes instead of the standard section of five," Galloway said. "Jessica Langley, an exchange student from Napier University in Edinburgh, Scotland, is an excellent saxophonist and her addition to the section this semester makes this set a great choice. These tunes are among Florence's best and they all swing like mad."