The University of Iowa
The University of Iowa News Services Home News Releases UI in the News Subscribe to UI News Contact Us


Writer: Jenny Burman
100 Old Public Library
Iowa City IA 52242
(319) 384-0073; fax (319) 384-0024

Release: Immediate

Jazz musicians will visit UI School of Music, perform for public

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- Three professional jazz musicians will visit the University of Iowa School of Music to work with students in the jazz studies area and perform with UI ensembles. Tenor saxophonist Mike Lee, bassist Roberto Miranda and saxophonist Walter Thompson will participate in UI jazz events at different times from late February until May.

Their visit is sponsored by the UI School of Music's jazz department, directed by

John Rapson.

Lee and Miranda will be at the UI through the last week of February, playing the Iowa Jazztet at Eddie Piccard's in Cedar Rapids Feb. 24 and at The Sanctuary in Iowa City on Feb. 27. They will also perform with Johnson County Landmark, the School of Music jazz repertory ensemble, at the Indian Hill Jazz Festival in Ottumwa at 5 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 25.

Thompson will be at the UI in May.

Lee, who lives in New York City, plays saxophone with the Village Vanguard Orchestra, the Maria Schneider Orchestra and the Bill Mobley Big Band. A former student of Joe Lovano, with whom he has performed in concert as a featured soloist, Lee is considered a rising star in the world of jazz. He has toured with the Woody Herman Orchestra, among other groups. Two of Lee's compositions were selected among the top five in the 1997 Thelonius Monk Institute of Jazz and BMI International Jazz Composers Competition. He will be touring in the fall with Joe Lovano as part of Lovano's Celebrating Sinatra ensemble. Lee's headline recordings include "The Quiet Answer" and "Above the Battleground."

Miranda is known as one of Los Angeles' leading jazz bassists. He is a performer, composer and teacher at UCLA in the music school jazz department headed by jazz guitarist Kenny Burrell. Among the many jazz luminaries with whom Miranda has recorded and toured in the U.S. and abroad are David Murray, Cecil Taylor, Don Preston and Horace Tapscott. Miranda performs frequently with Tapscott, including a recent concert at Carnegie Hall. His work is featured on more than 35 recordings. Miranda visited the UI in March 1997, performing with Johnson County Landmark and in other UI Music School events.

Saxophonist Thompson is founder and composer for the Walter Thompson Orchestra and Ensemble, both based in New York City. For the past 25 years he has been composing professionally, performing and conducting his own compositions in the United States and in Europe. In addition to leading his large ensemble and orchestra, which Jon Pareles of the New York Times describe as pushing "big band music in a new direction," Thompson has developed a unique conducting language called "Sound Painting." The technique was developed for musicians, dancers, actors and artists working in the medium of improvisation. Thompson's music-education background includes a teaching position at UI, as well as positions at the New School for Social Research in New York City, the New England Conservatory of Music, the University of Michigan and others. Recordings under his own name include "The Colonel," "Not for Rollo" and "520 Out."

Rapson, a trombonist, joined the faculty of the UI School of Music in 1993 as director of jazz studies. He is a recording artist for the Sound Aspects and Nine Winds labels, and he is a trombonist whose work mixes ethnic and experimental elements with more conventional jazz forms. Rapson has performed with major jazz artists including Bobby Bradford, Vinny Golia, Tim Berne, Bill Frisell, Anthony Braxton, Doc Cheatham, David Murray and Julius Hemphill.