The Temple University Jazz Band exudes energy and confidence. Some of this can be credited to their youth.They also have a strong leader, trumpeter Terell Stafford who has taught them the value of hard work and dedication. (He has also taught them dynamics; you can play well without playing loud.) And then there's those inspiring guests: Faddis, Herwig, Oatts, Perez, Warfield.
The arrangements are interesting to listen to and challenging to play. Greg Hopkins' chart of "The Fadd" launches John Faddis on a stratospheric adventure while Gordon Goodwin's "Mueva Los Hueso" is a Latin burner featuring percussion by Perez. Thad Jones is represented by the title track and Jimmy Heath with " Nice Work If You Can get It." Shirley Scott's "Basie in Mind" conjures up that wonderful band and Warfield is Prez. Student alto player Paul Hazen is prominent on Bob Mintzer's arrangement of "Dolphin Dance"as is Oatts on his own 'Gumbo G." The band swings out on "Brotherhood of Man " and the twin trumpets, Tim Thompson and Ralph DiSylvestro will take you back to Woody's 40th at Carnegie Hall and the Candoli brothers. It's a wonder that the bones were able to play at all during Herwig's "Quasi Modal." Their mouths must have been wide open during his solo in awe at his technical ability. Pianist Yoichi Uzeki provides the only student composition/arrangement. It's intricate and contemporary with drama from the ensemble and introspective piano from Uzeki, both in solo and with Brad Mills on guitar. A talent to be watched.
Two lucky days for jazz and Temple University: the first was when the classically-trained Stafford discovered jazz in grad school;the second when Bill Cosby suggested he teach at Cosby's alma mater.