GREENWOOD — Big band music lovers will be in for a treat when Lander University’s Jazz Ensemble takes the stage Tuesday, April 9, for its spring show.
Fans of 70s funk should enjoy themselves, too.
Big band standards like “Take the ‘A’ Train,” “Rockabye River” and “It Don’t Mean a Thing,” popularized by the Duke Ellington Orchestra, will dominate the first part of the program, which gets under way at 8 p.m. in the Josephine B. Abney Cultural Center Auditorium. Other big band favorites, like “Pennsylvania 6-5000,” “Chattanooga Choo Choo” and “Moonlight Serenade,” popularized by the Glenn Miller Orchestra, are in the mix, too.
Then guest artist Mike Frost, an adherent of the fusion style of jazz, will join the group as it plays Herbie Hancock’s “Chameleon” and “The Chicken,” by Alfred James Ellis. At that point, as Lander associate professor of music and ensemble director Dr. Robert Gardiner puts it, “the style of music will change significantly.”
Frost studied under jazz icons Pat Martino and Jaco Pastorius, and has played with Gardiner, a saxophonist, on many occasions in the past, at venues such as Columbia’s Speakeasy and Blue Martini. Gardiner describes him as “a great electric bassist and musician.”
The upcoming concert, which is free, will also feature a vocal jazz quartet, consisting of Lander music students Corrie Woods, Mary Evan Giles, Tessa Moody and Sonny Nodine, who will sing “Chattanooga Choo Choo,” “Moonlight Serenade” and “It Don’t Mean a Thing.”
The ensemble recently performed at the S.C. Music Educators’ Association convention in Charleston, and according to Gardiner, “it went very well. The band sounded great and we were very well received.”
He expects the group to perform at a high level in its spring concert, too. He invited members of the public to join him for an enjoyable evening of jazz.