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UK Student Jazz Ensemble at the Top of Its Game

By Ralph Derickson

Photo of 2002-03 UK Jazz Ensemble
(click photo to enlarge)
UK Jazz Ensemble

Out of 36 ensembles to perform, only six big bands received an outstanding rating, Osland said. In addition to UK, they included Michigan State University, Northern Illinois University, the University of Louisville, the Chicago School of the Performing Arts, and the University of Iowa. Of those six, UK was the sole ensemble invited to perform during the awards concert. “I can honestly say that this ensemble, this year, is truly one of the best in the country – these students are amazing.

-- Miles Osland,
UK jazz music professor

 

March 11, 2003 (Lexington, Ky.) -- The 19-member University of Kentucky Jazz Ensemble, under the direction of jazz music professor Miles Osland, recently won top awards at the 36th Annual Elmhurst College Jazz Festival held at Elmhurst College, Elmhurst, Ill., Feb. 21-23.

The jazz combos from the ensemble (UK JazzCats and the UK Mega-Sax) also received an outstanding rating at the Elmhurst competition. In addition to the overall ensemble awards, seven students received individual outstanding performer certificates.

Out of 36 ensembles to perform, only six big bands received an outstanding rating, Osland said. In addition to UK, they included Michigan State University, Northern Illinois University, the University of Louisville, the Chicago School of the Performing Arts, and the University of Iowa. Of those six, UK was the sole ensemble invited to perform during the awards concert. “I can honestly say that this ensemble, this year, is truly one of the best in the country – these students are amazing,” Osland said.

Osland said the Jazz Ensemble also recently received the DeeBee award in the category of Best Jazz Instrumental Studio Orchestra from Down Beat magazine, a leading magazine in the country for jazz enthusiasts. The UK Mega-Sax Ensemble has won in the combo category three times over the past six years.

A very active group on the road, the UK Jazz Ensemble has toured recently in Chicago, Ill.; Cincinnati, Dayton and Columbus, Ohio; Notre Dame; Tennessee; and Georgia.

The group also is prolific in the recording studio, releasing five recordings recently. JazzTimes, a jazz magazine, said of the UK Jazz Ensemble recordings, “You wouldn't believe these are students. Not only is their sheer technical virtuosity amazing, but they also play authentically and expressively.”

The UK jazz band has been featured with many national touring artists including David Liebman, Tom Harrell, Doc Severinsen, Louie Bellson, Clark Terry, Mel Torme, Diane Schuur, Phil Woods, Randy Brecker, Bobby Shew, and Bob Mintzer.

The members of the UK Jazz Ensemble, the instruments they play and their hometowns are as follows:

  • Saxophone – Rudy Brannon, Indianapolis, Ind.; Brad Grable, Hopkinsville, Ky.; Chris Strange, Windham, Maine; Chris Barbee, Greensboro, N.C.; and Ken Snow, Vidor, Texas.
  • Trumpet – T. J. Tesh and John Tuck, Chicago, Ill.; Matt Keys, Pilot Mountain, N.C.; Tracy Brooks, La Grange, Ky.; and Dan Trammel, San Diego, Calif.
  • Trombone – Brad Kerns, Kingsport, Tenn.; Lee Allen, Lexington, Ky.; Valerie Evans, Nicholasville, Ky.; Clint Woltering, Richmond, Ky.; and Seth Vatt (bass), Chattanooga, Tenn.
  • Piano – Matt Duncan, Lexington.
  • Bass – Kevin Kehrberg, Newton, Kan.
  • Drums – Rob Rawlings, Lexington.
  • Mallets and Percussion – James Landrum, Marietta, Ga.

For more information about the University of Kentucky School of Music and individual performing groups like the UK Jazz Ensemble, click here.


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