The Army Blues Perform With Hammond’s Jazz Band

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Photo Credit: Stephen Dunlap

By Tim Baker 

The Army Blues, one of the premier big bands on the east coast, played in the Bear’s Den last week.  In addition to offering a completely 100% no strings attached free concert, they offered a clinic for the Hammond Jazz Band.  The Blues started the night off hot with a big band arrangement of  Bart Howard’s classic “Fly Me to the Moon,” made famous by Frank Sinatra.  After an assortment of the quintessential tracks, Ellington, Count Bassie, Sammy Nestico, etc. the Blues premiered an arrangement of “Utopia”, a song made famous by the Coltrane-Davis Quartet in the fifties

The Blues hosted a clinic before the concert in which individual members of the Blues worked directly with the Hammond jazz band members.  Sophomore Tony Terrasa says he, “learned a lot about tone production in a jazz setting and the specific technique involved with creating a jazz sound.”  The Blues provided useful insight into even sounds the band thought they had perfected.  “It was a really eye opening experience” Terrasa said.  Even the performance was inspirationation for the band members.  “Everything articulation was the exact same, it sound like there was one huge instrument being played” Terrassa said.  With a chuckle he said, “in short, they sound like a professional group.”

The Army Blues played after the Hammond Jazz Band in the concert which gave the opportunity for the band to not only play on all the Blues’ professional grade mics, drums, and equipment but to also play alongside one of the premier jazz bands in the country.  Hammond director, Stephen Dunlap before the performance said, “This is the best you will ever sound. The chance to play along-side such an extraordinary band is a once in a lifetime opportunity.”


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