One O'Clock Lab Band, Two O'Clock Lab Band & UNT Concert Orchestra | Perseverance: The Music of Rich DeRosa at North Texas

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Perseverance: The Music of Rich DeRosa at North Texas

by One O'Clock Lab Band, Two O'Clock Lab Band & UNT Concert Orchestra

A compilation honoring the ongoing legacy of Rich DeRosa, featuring big band charts performed by The One O'Clock Lab Band and Two O'Clock Lab Band, and "Suite for an Anniversary" commemorating the 125th Anniversary of UNT, by the UNT Concert Orchestra.
Genre: Jazz: Modern Big Band
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
1. Take the "A" Train
One O'Clock Lab Band
7:00 $0.99
2. Mixed Emotions
One O'Clock Lab Band
9:22 $0.99
3. The Rat Race
Two O'Clock Lab Band
5:32 $0.99
4. Infant Eyes
Two O'Clock Lab Band
6:02 $0.99
5. Fugue for Thought
One O'Clock Lab Band
7:29 $0.99
6. Perseverance
One O'Clock Lab Band
7:36 $0.99
7. Neil
One O'Clock Lab Band
6:20 $0.99
8. Suite for an Anniversary (Live)
UNT Concert Orchestra
14:50 $1.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes
Notes by Rich DeRosa from Lab 2013:
Take the ‘A’ Train – In 2010, when I arrived in Denton to take my new position as director of jazz composition and arranging, my wife and I rented an apartment before eventually settling into our present home. We were very pleased with our new dwelling as it had a lovely view of green grass and trees. Not more than two weeks later, our serene view was razed in anticipation of building the new commuter railroad now known as the ‘A’ Train line that goes from Dallas to Denton.

For about eight months we observed its construction and, during the last two months of our inhabitance in the apartment, we got to see AND HEAR our new commuter train in action. Unfortunately for us, and everyone else in our apartment building, the town had not completed the proper paperwork to prevent the engineer from blowing the train whistle. Because the apartment complex was next to a train crossing, my wife and I were treated to this unwelcome cacophony beginning at 4:30 AM, in twenty-minute intervals, until 10:00 AM. The long introduction to my arrangement portrays this unwelcome but thankfully short period in my life. There are also euphoric aspects to this arrangement as Denton’s new train line and new trains are working wonderfully for our Denton community.

Notes by Steve Wiest from Lab 2014:
One of the reasons that UNT has such an outstanding stable of great young writers is due to the fact that virtuoso Rich DeRosa is in residence as the jazz composition and arranging professor. Doubling as the new conductor of the WDR Big Band in Germany, Rich is simply one of the top composers, arrangers, conductors, teachers, and drummers in jazz today. How fortunate the students are at North Texas to have this wonderful mentor! Rich wrote a beautiful original this year for the band that he calls Mixed Emotions. A master of orchestration, DeRosa paints amazing pictures with his outstanding use of clarinets. What a great texture! The first soloist is the wonderful Horace Bray on guitar. Possessor of a wonderful ability to extemporaneously create beautiful and interesting melodies, Horace really gets a chance to stretch here. We also get to hear the super-talented soloist Stuart Mack on flügelhorn as well. What a unique and deep improviser! Stuart is so talented that I chose to feature him alone as the opener for our big performance at the Jazz Education Network conference this year. He brought the crowd to a standing ovation then and demonstrates his gifts here as well. Regarding this beautiful composition, I say to Rich what Gil Evans once said to Miles Davis: “I sure am glad you were born!”

Notes by Jay Saunders from Two Music: It Don’t Mean A Thing If It . . .:
The Rat Race, Rich DeRosa’s contribution for us this year, is a baião. Don’t let the sound of this intro fool you; this is not just another one of “those” charts. The lines in this baby are harder than heck and the whole band had no place to hide. Nick Rothouse (vibraphone) gets the studio musician A+ award for just coming in on overdub day and nailing this baby in one take. Solos are by Damian Garcia, Daniel Matthews, and Lupe Barrera.

Notes by Rich DeRosa:
The Rat Race was created originally as part of a larger work (Millennium) for percussion ensemble. I thought this extracted section of music would work well as a stand-alone piece for big band. I am grateful to Jay (the director at the time) and the members of the Two O’Clock Lab Band for giving the music a greater life in this context.

Notes by Jay Saunders from Kind of Two:
Infant Eyes – This Wayne Shorter composition is one of the most beautiful jazz ballads ever written. Rich DeRosa does a lovely new rendition that is as refreshing as it is haunting. Sergio Pamies on piano and Drew Zaremba on soprano saxophone add the perfect solos for this chart.

Notes by Rich DeRosa:
Infant Eyes is a beautiful composition by Wayne Shorter. My arrangement of it was initially commissioned for the Verona High School Jazz Ensemble in New Jersey where I lived for many years. Until 2013 it was never recorded on CD and I thought it would work well for the Two. Thanks again to Jay and the band for recording it.

Notes by Steve Wiest from Lab 2012:
Rich DeRosa, the talented and accomplished composition and arranging professor, wrote Fugue for Thought with soloist Jordan Gheen’s unusual electric trumpet sound in mind. The sound palette Mr. Gheen explores works beautifully with the composition. The fugal elements are combined with the loose, Elvin Jones/McCoy Tyner-esque feeling to fantastic effect.

Notes by Rich DeRosa from Lab 2011:
Perseverance is a programmatic work that speaks to people's efforts, in whatever capacity in life, to overcome adversity or difficulty. It begins in a humble manner and expands slowly with some 'glimmers of hope' that surface on occasion followed by more moments of resignation. The final build behind the tenor saxophone solo evolves into a complex 'shout' chorus that culminates in a momentous victory. Musically, I wrote the piece to specifically feature the members of this Lab Band. Many of the traditional instrumental roles expected in a big band have been abandoned. The rhythm section (what I also refer to as my 'string' section) is featured significantly with many of the horns serving as the accompanists. The horns even accompany (keep time for) the drum solo. The main theme weaves its way throughout the entire ensemble from the double bass and piano, with bass clarinet joining in, moving to bass trombones, upward into the mid-register horns, and ascending into a solo descant trumpet. A secondary and somewhat static theme, heard initially in the soprano saxophone, serves as a haunting counterpart to the more adventurous main theme.

Dear Members of the One O’Clock Lab Band,
I’ve just listened to your recording of my composition Perseverance and am totally ecstatic with your excellent performance! My deepest thanks and affection to all the soloists. All of you inspired me to write something that is quite a different writing adventure. Hearing you perform this past year encouraged me to go to some writing places that I normally would not (or could not) go to with most bands. Your accomplishment and diligence is greatly appreciated and I am so excited and proud to be a part of UNT and in particular involved with the One. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

Notes by Bob Curnow from Lab 2011:
I've known Rich DeRosa since he was a kid, and he has always amazed me with his talent. Talk about good genes! Perseverance is perfectly described in Rich's own comments. I can only add that you can almost see "that life" passing before you as you listen. There are shifting key centers of long duration, moving from plane to plane (somewhat of a "Reichian" nature), always maintaining a certainty of form, direction and quality. The performance is emotional and inspiring (yeh, trombones). Kudos to Colin, Jacob, Mark, Pete, Chad, and Duran. To hear such wonderful creativity within Rich's exhilarating yet sobering composition is most admirable.

Notes by Rich DeRosa from Lab 2015:
Neil – Fate connects us with special people. In music, our successful elders serve as models for inspiration. They show younger ones a path that may be taken for a personal career. When an older and wiser person bestows a personal interest in someone younger, a unique friendship evolves. I’ve now known Neil Slater for almost forty years. As time passed we became professional colleagues on the bandstand and in the classroom, as well as dear friends. Since his arrival at UNT in 1981, he’s more than once encouraged me to join the program. Ironically, after his retirement in 2008, I joined the faculty in 2010. I haven’t regretted it–in fact, I love my job. So how do I sufficiently say “thank you” for all the support I’ve felt from this man through the years? (I’m sure there are many others who feel similarly; Neil’s twenty-seven years as the head of the jazz program at UNT have had a significant impact on many young musicians who aspire to be the best.) The most meaningful thing I could think of was to write a composition and dedicate it to him. Neil and I both love Thad Jones’s composition “To You” for its soft and lush sound, beautiful melody, harmony, and sentiment. So my “thank you” gift for you, Neil, is written in the same spirit.

Neil (additional notes by Rich DeRosa): I never expected that this composition would be nominated for a Grammy. But I’m extremely pleased it did because it brought greater exposure to the dedication and significant impact that Neil Slater’s 27-year leadership has had on the UNT jazz program. The photo of us was taken in my office immediately after our interview by the CBS camera crew. When the reporter asked Neil about his first thought when he heard that this piece was written for him, Neil responded in his wonderfully sardonic and witty manner: “Well, I hope Rich got it right!” Apparently NARAS thought so. ☺

Suite for an Anniversary – program notes from the composer, Rich DeRosa.

This music composition commemorates the 125th anniversary of the University of North Texas and showcases some of the extraordinary talent within its college of music – both in the classical and jazz programs. The instrumentation includes a full orchestra (mixed with classical and jazz performers), an additional jazz rhythm section, and an improvising saxophonist.

The composition features two pitch cells that are based on the relevant numbers 125, this year’s anniversary, and 1890, the year the school was founded. The numbers 1-2-5 correlate to the music solfege syllables Do-Re-Sol; the numbers 1-8-9-0 correlate to Do – Do an octave higher – Re above the high Do - and Ti below the fundamental Do.

Both pitch cells are presented in counterpoint during a fairly conventional, orchestral introduction. Shortly after, the rhythm section is introduced and the suite then unfolds into the main body of the work.

The main theme is exposed in the 1st large section. It utilizes the featured pitch cells in juxtaposed ways, and is generally based on the traditional major scale to readily capture the sense of euphoria that is inherent in any celebratory anniversary. Bold brass chords with swirling string and woodwind lines are further energized by the jazz rhythm section. As the theme is completed, the tenor saxophone soloist emerges as the featured improviser to sustain the mood in a more impromptu manner.

As the improvisation finishes, the mood becomes more serene and reflective. The 2nd section of the suite refers to the school’s origin in the year 1890. A fugue, with its monophonic statement of the subject, represents the relatively simple beginning of UNT’s existence. The 1-8-9-0 pitch cell is featured prominently within the fugue subject. The fugue progresses solely within the string section and, as each new voice enters, the fugue subject is transformed by the changing background texture as time has changed and redefined UNT over the decades. With the entrance of the other sections of the orchestra, the fugue culminates in grandiose style and the piece transitions into the 3rd section.

North Texas’s development in the 19th century (Denton was established in 1857) is firmly rooted in the ‘old’ American West. The 3rd section suggests the bold and rugged energy of the American frontier and its people during that time. The rhythm section and improvising saxophonist rejoin the orchestra and are featured in a modernized Western Swing style.

The 4th section evolves out of the 3rd. It features the orchestra in dynamic fashion with antiphonal phrases from various instrument sections that suggest a whirlwind of energy that is typical of America’s (and UNT’s) development during the 20th and into the 21st centuries. This section offers the grandest moments within the entire suite as its energy ultimately drives to the reprise of the main theme (5th section). The closing moments of the suite once again expose the two music pitch cells in counterpoint for a final, celebratory punctuation.



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