sealPurdue News

March 15, 2002

Purdue jazz band notes, 'It Might As Well Be Spring'

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – The longing for adventure that arrives with spring colors a concert of light-hearted jazz on Friday, March 22, when Purdue's three jazz bands present "It Might As Well Be Spring."

The free concert is set for 8 p.m. in Stewart Center's Loeb Playhouse.

M.T. "Mo" Trout, Purdue jazz studies director, says the music of spring reflects fanciful thoughts.

"In March, when the weather warms and the days lengthen, everyone thinks about a spring break adventure, whether they can do it or not," Trout says.

That notion inspired him to put together a whole jazz concert inspired by spring and the sense of adventure.

"We were thinking about spring and what students imagine they would like to have done, like go south, meet 'Hard Hearted Hannah' on 'Bikini Beach' and 'Have One For My Baby,' then jam to a nice samba on the streets," Trout jokes.

So, the show opener is Paul Baker's "Bikini Beach," which is reminiscent of early 1960s rock-'n'-roll by bands such as The Beach Boys.

"It's a total blues number and the Concert Jazz Band is having a great time with it," Trout says. The audience will be invited to join in the fun by clapping in rhythmic patterns during designated spots in the tune.

"Hard Hearted Hannah, The Vamp of Savannah," another blues tune, comes next with a honky-tonk piano spotlight for Joshua Schpok, a junior from South Bend, Ind.

Trout said it was fun picking tunes with titles and moods to fit the spring theme. There's "Cruisin' for a Bluesin,'" for example, that the Lab Jazz Band performs, and "Love Walked In" and "It Might As Well Be Spring" on the Purdue Jazz Band's section of the program.

Some familiar tunes have jazzy arrangements which may surprise concertgoers. A prime example is "Tenderly," which is "anything but a gentle ballad," Trout says.

"It's an up-tempo, fast, rollicking, big band chart – a roaring version of "Tenderly."

George Gershwin's "Love Walked In" sounds a bit different, too.

"It's a great arrangement that makes you realize love doesn't just walk in with no strings attached," Trout says.

Trout says the arrangement, which purposefully creates musical tangles before smoothing things out, "makes comments on the tune itself."

"It's very tricky to play," he says. "It doesn't string itself out in a pretty melody like you'd expect a Gershwin tune to do."

The adventurous program also includes a trip to "Sackbut City" with the Purdue Jazz Band. The sackbut is the predecessor of the trombone, but Trout says there's nothing medieval about this bebop swing number. The virtuoso piece was written for the Eastman Jazz Ensemble to perform at the Montreux Jazz Festival in the mid-1990s.

"The whole trombone section plays together, then in different groupings, and each has a chance to do solo work," he says.

The concert delivers a feel-good ending in the title song "It Might As Well Be Spring."

"It's a straight-ahead swinger by one of the most talented arrangers for big band, Don Schamber. It just feels good all the way through," Trout says.

CONTACT: Kathy Matter, Purdue Bands public relations director, (765) 496-6785,

Purdue News Service: (765) 494-2096;

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