The University of Iowa
The University of Iowa News Services Home News Releases UI in the News Subscribe to UI News Contact Us
100 Old Public Library
Iowa City IA 52242
(319) 384-0072; fax (319) 384-0024

Release: Immediate

New UI jazz ensemble gives debut concert Dec. 9

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- The Improvisers' Arkestra, a new jazz ensemble at the University of Iowa School of Music, will give its debut concert at 8 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 9 in the Opera Studio of the Voxman Music Building on the UI campus.

The concert, presented under the direction of John Rapson, head of the UI jazz program, will be free and open to the public.

An ensemble of unconventional instrumentation, the Improvisers' Arkestra was founded as a means to explore current trends in improvised music. As such, Rapson said, it is a logical counterpart and compliment to the School of Music's long-established big band, Johnson County Landmark (JCL).

"JCL is a repertory ensemble, performing original compositions by jazz masters," Rapson said. "The Improviser's Arkestra will give students an opportunity to work more on the cutting edge of jazz, improvising freely and performing current work."

"Some of the repertoire will come from the students' own work, either their own new compositions or transcriptions they make from current recordings."

The Dec. 9 concert will include two such works, "Feeling Human," a new work by saxophonist Mike Giles, and a transcription by double bassist Anton Hatwich of Bill Stewart's "These Are They."

Other works on the program will include "Ramblin'" by Ornette Coleman, from his celebrated "Change of the Century" recording; "Free Range Chicken" by New York drummer Matt Wilson; and "Cryogenesis" by Charlie Kolhase, a founding member of the innovative Either Orchestra and a recording artist with three titles under his own leadership.

The current, unconventional instrumentation of the Improvisers' Arkestra includes violin, oboe, saxophone, trumpet, French horn, tuba, guitar, accordion and piano, in addition to the usual jazz rhythm section of double bass and percussion.

The group takes its name from the a longstanding Minneapolis band, the Improvisers' Orchestra. The spelling of "Arkestra" is derived from Sun Ra's influential 1950s and '60s-era Intergalactic Arkestra and Horace Tapscott's Pan African People's Arkestra. The group also derives inspiration from Iowa native Charlie Haden's Liberation Orchestra.