Ensemble veteran heads up weekend of music at CSUB Cal State Bakersfield jazz students will re-create the jazz concert ensemble at 8 p.m. Friday in the 37th annual Jazz Jam in the Dore Theater.
This year's concert will feature saxophonist and composer/arranger Kim Richmond, a veteran of the great jazz concert ensembles of Stan Kenton, Louie Bellson and many others. CSUB jazz ensemble director Jim Scully said the student band will be performing a complete program of Richmond's works.
"He's a wonderful writer, a wonderful reed player," Scully said. "He's got a lot of history."
Richmond began his professional career at 16 and performed in the United States Air Force big band, the Airmen of Note, while serving in the military. After his service, Richmond moved to California, performing and writing for Kenton, Bellson, Les Brown, Clare Fischer, Lalo Schifrin, Johnny Mandel, Buddy Rich and many others.
He eventually formed the Kim Richmond Concert Jazz Orchestra to perform his own music, was nominated for a Grammy award for one of his recordings and continues to perform and tour extensively. His latest recording, "Artistry -- a Tribute to Stan Kenton," will be released at a concert at the RedCat Theater at the Disney Hall complex later this month.
Richmond is also a music educator, with 12 years on the adjunct faculty at USC, and currently teaching at CalArts. Scully said Richmond will arrive at CSUB the day before the concert to rehearse with his students. Scully said the students have been learning arrangements Richmond wrote for his original jazz concert ensemble from the 1990s.
"Kim will work with the group for dress rehearsal on Thursday night from 7 to 10," Scully said.
Scully said part of the rehearsal will be to determine what pieces Richmond will play solos on.
"I want him to play as much as possible," Scully said.
As pioneered by band leaders such as Kenton, the jazz concert ensemble transcended the jazz bands of the swing era by performing pieces not intended for dancing or the popular music charts, but as concert music. These works were of longer duration and more complicated musically and harmonically, challenging the listener as much as the performer. Even the instrumentation was expanded to include instruments not normally associated with jazz.
"The music really asks everything you'd want to ask of a large jazz ensemble," Scully said. "Tricky ensemble sections, adventurous chord changes for the rhythm section, complicated rhythms."
Scully said he also had to add two French horn players and a tuba player to complete the ensemble called for in Richmond's arrangements.
On Sunday, CSUB chamber music students will perform a number of musical rarities at 4 p.m. in the Dore' Theater. Directed by Soo-Yeon Chang, the program includes music for piano duo by Ottorino Respighi; the Dialogue for Two Trumpets by Eugene Bozza; Six Duets for Two Violins and Piano by Benjamin Godard; and Trio for Viola, Violin and Piano by Aram Khatchaturian.
The composers' works span from the latter part of the 19th century into the 20th century and present some rarely heard examples from each composer. Respighi was well-known for his orchestral work, which represented the largest part of his compositional output.
Bozza's music is rarely performed outside of the composer's native France. Khatchaturian is best known for his piano music for children and for his ballets, some of which has been used repeatedly for film soundtracks; and Godard wrote an enormous amount of music in all genres, and was best regarded for his works of smaller scope.