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Release: June 22, 2001

NOTE TO BROADCASTERS: JUISE is pronounced "juice."

JUISE, UI summer jazz ensemble to play a free concert July 5

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- JUISE, a summer jazz ensemble comprised of local jazz professionals, educators and select students from the University of Iowa School of Music, will be joined by violinist Leopold La Fosse for a free public concert at 8 p.m. Thursday, July 5, at the Riverside Festival Stage in lower City Park, Iowa City.

Now in its third summer season, JUISE, which stands for Jazz at the University of Iowa Summer Ensemble, was formerly known as the Summer Festival Jazz Ensemble. Started as an opportunity for local professionals to get together and read music they all enjoyed, the group has turned more to public performance, but without losing any of the fun.

John Rapson, a member of the band and head of the jazz studies program at the UI School of Music, explained: "This band has been fun for all of us to play in during the summers. We started out as a 'reading' band, but now JUISE has become more like 'serious fun.' None of us would give this band up -- the literature is so great and we look forward to hearing each other play. We pretty much knock each other out.

"What JUISE is, really, is a fine opportunity for an audience to overhear musicians having a good time together."

In addition to Rapson, other members of JUISE include band directors from both Iowa City high schools, current and former UI faculty, members of the popular "Orquesta de jazz y salsa Alto Maiz" (High Corn jazz and salsa orchestra), and other professional musicians who are well known locally.

Best known as a classical violinist and violin teacher at the UI School of Music, La Fosse is an extremely versatile musician who has included jazz among his many styles of performance. La Fosse, who played jazz and Broadway music professionally before he joined the UI faculty, said, "I love jazz and love playing. Improvising in a jazz group is so different from the kind of note-by-note accuracy you aim for in classical playing, and the give and take with the other players is really fun for me."

The program on July 5 will feature music by Carla Bley, who visited the UI in March and recently returned to Iowa City for the Iowa City Jazz Festival. An extraordinarily versatile musician, Bley has performed in a variety of jazz styles and settings. Her written compositions range from big-band jazz charts to chamber music that straddles the divide between jazz and contemporary concert music.

JUISE will perform Bley's "El Cocinero," which is a slow blend of Latin and jazz elements, and the multi-movement "Birds of Paradise," featuring La Fosse and members of the band.

The program will include "Such Sweet Thunder," described by Rapson as "Ellington's nod to Shakespeare. It's fitting that we play it on the Shakespeare Stage in City Park," Rapson said.

Other works on the program will include Ellington's lesser known "Bula," which incorporates a tango into the familiar Ellington style; "Mambo Inn" by Mario Bauza, a Cuban trumpet player who played with Dizzy Gillespie and Chick Webb in the 1930s, later had his own big band and became one of the pioneers of salsa; and Gillespie's classic big band chart of "Groovin' High" from his band of the late 1940s.

The members of JUISE by section are:

-- Trumpets: Brent Sandy, a UI and Cornell College faculty member; UI alumnus Bill Bergen, a professional player from Des Moines; Bill Pringle, band director at City High School in Iowa City; and John Cord, a UI jazz student from Newhall;

-- Trombones: Rich Medd, a band director at Iowa City West High School; Rapson; Chuck Mead, a local professional player and member of the Quad City Symphony; and Bryan Hardester, an incoming doctoral student at the UI;

-- Saxophones: Chris Merz, a UI alumnus and a new jazz faculty member at the University of Northern Iowa; Rodney Pierson, a UI alum and local professional player; Bob Thompson, a local professional player; Luke Ziegenhorn, a UI jazz student from Muscatine; and Jane Williams, a recent UI graduate with a master's degree in saxophone performance; and

-- Rhythm section: Steve Grismore, guitar, a faculty member at the UI and Augustana College; Brad Townsend, bass, a UI jazz student; and Jim Dreier, drums, a faculty member at the UI and Augustana College.

La Fosse joined the UI music faculty in 1972. At the UI he teaches violin and directs a group of students devoted to the performance of Baroque and early Classic music, the La Fosse Baroque Ensemble. He has also done extensive research in string pedagogy. He has twice been to Brazil as a Fulbright lecturer and returns annually to perform, teach and give master classes.

La Fosse continues an active international career as soloist and chamber musician, with tours in the United States, Europe, South America and Russia. In 1997 he celebrated his 25th anniversary on the UI faculty with a series of four recitals displaying his versatility, appearing as a virtuoso soloist, a chamber musician, a Baroque performance specialist and a jazz violinist.

The School of Music is part of the Division of Performing Arts in the UI College of Liberal Arts.

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