sealPurdue News

April 12, 2002

Easy listening jazz fills traditional outdoor event at Purdue

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – Jazz standards make for easy listening at Jazz on the Hill on Friday, April 19, at Purdue University's Slayter Center.

As it has for decades, the outdoor concert ushers in Gala Weekend on campus. This year it's also part of the first nationwide observance of Jazz Appreciation Month.

Five bands, highlighted by the Purdue Jazz Band and the Harrison High School Jazz Band, are featured at the informal event, which runs from 5-8 p.m. Admission is free. Concertgoers are encouraged to bring picnics and lawn chairs to Slayter's grassy hill.

For the student musicians, as well as the audience, the concert provides a chance to kick back and enjoy being outside, says M.T. "Mo" Trout, director of jazz studies at Purdue.

"We try to play tunes where a lot of people get a chance to solo and hit different styles of jazz," Trout says. "We do things that are fun to play."

One of Purdue's first jazz musicians, 1954 industrial economics graduate Chet Bauch from Dayton Ohio, will return to conduct several tunes he has arranged for jazz band.

"In the early 1950s (Paul) 'Spotts' Emrick found I was the jazz burr under his saddle, and he invited me to leave the band program," says Bauch, who continued to promote jazz on campus and formed what was most likely Purdue's first student jazz orchestra.

Bauch says that Emrick, Purdue Marching Band's first director, wasn't alone in his feelings about jazz. Not many universities offered jazz as part of their curriculum at that time, he says.

"We used to play with guys from Ohio State, and they didn't have one," Bauch says.

Bauch did find support on campus. His 18-piece orchestra played several dances at the Purdue Memorial Union and even gave a few performances in the Elliott Hall of Music. Other band students secretly defied Emrick and performed with Bauch.

"Still, we had to do everything on the sly," he says. "You have no idea what kind of nonsense we had to go through in those days."

After college, Bauch worked for General Motors, then joined the U.S. Navy, where he continued to write arrangements and compositions for the Navy's ComAirLant fleet big band in Jacksonville, Fla. Through several career moves, and a return to the University of Dayton for an electrical engineering degree, he continued to stay active as a conductor, saxophonist and writer/arranger. He now works with the various "ghost" bands – like the Nelson Riddle, Tommy Dorsey and Buddy Morrow orchestras – that crisscross the country. He also serves on the faculty at Ohio State as an arranger/composer.

"I think I'm the only engineer they've ever had in that job," he says.

At Jazz on the Hill, Bauch will conduct "Count Buckwheat" with the Alumni Jazz Band. He also will conduct the Purdue Jazz Band in "Perdido" and "Angel Eyes." Some of the other standards on the concert lineup include "I Love Paris," "Night Train," "Misty" and "Along Came Betty."

The order of performance for the concert begins with the Purdue Concert Jazz Band followed by the Harrison High School Jazz Band, Purdue's Lab Jazz Band and the Alumni Jazz Band. The evening closes with Purdue Bands' premier ensemble, the Purdue Jazz Band.

CONTACT: Kathy Matter, (765) 496-6785;

NOTE TO JOURNALISTS: Media interested in interviews should contact Kathy Matter, Purdue Bands public relations director, at (765) 496-6785.

Purdue News Service: (765) 494-2096;

* To the Purdue News and Photos Page