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Release: June 14, 2002

Concerts will put local jazz musicians in front of students and the public, June 25, 26 and 27

Students attending the All-State Jazz Camp at the university of Iowa will receive a musical treat, and the public is invited to share in the fun. Faculty of the camp and other local jazz professionals will present a series of three varied concerts, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, June 25, 26 and 27.

The performances, all at 8 p.m. in Clapp Recital Hall, will be: A concert by Oftensemble, an ensemble of UI jazz faculty, on Tuesday; a “Night of Trios,” featuring three professional jazz trios, on Wednesday; and a concert by the University of Iowa Summer Ensemble (JUISE), comprised of UI faculty, local jazz professionals, educators and select students from the UI School of Music, on Thursday.

All three concerts will be free and open to the public.

John Rapson, the head of the jazz area of the UI School of Music and coordinator of the jazz camp, commented, “Because jazz is best learned from mentors, we try to expose students to as many performances as possible during the jazz camp. These three concerts will give them a chance to hear groups from trios to larger ensembles, and a wide variety of jazz styles.

“The great thing about playing for the students is that you never know when a piece or a group is going to spark some creativity in a young musician that pays off in a big way later. And since these musicians also play for each other, there’s a good chance that some sparks will fly.”

Oftensemble was formed in 1994 by UI graduates Tim O’Dell and Steve Grismore, as an opportunity for local professionals to write new music steeped in the jazz tradition and to play together in a larger ensemble.

The current group features eight players: Rapson on trombone; Brent Sandy on trumpet and flugelhorn; Robert Paredes on clarinet and bass clarinet; Bob Thompson on alto and tenor saxophones and flute; Steve Grismore on guitar; Dan Moore on marimba, vibes and percussion; Paul Cunliffe on drums and percussion; and Jim Dreier on drums and percussion.

For the Tuesday concert, Oftensemble will play two new pieces that Rapson wrote during a recent visit to Brazil.

The three groups featured Wednesday on the Night of Trios will be Standard AIR, OddBar and the Richmond/Thomas Trio.

The members of Standard AIR are Anton Hatwich, upright bass, Ira (John) Rapson, trombone, and Robert Paredes, clarinet. The group takes its name from the first initial of the three players’ first names: Anton, Ira and Robert. Rapson, who usually is known as John, decided to use Ira, his given first name, to create the group’s name.

The acoustic trio concentrates on jazz standards. “The group was originally founded as a vehicle for us to just rummage through the standards book and play for our own enjoyment,” Rapson says. “And because we don't have a standard rhythm section, the context left a lot of room for everyone to solo with space to play very quietly and in every range of our instruments.”

OddBar is made up of three members of the UI jazz faculty: Steve Grismore, guitar, Brent sandy, trumpet, and Jim Dreier, drums.

The third trio on Wednesday will bring together saxophonist Kim Richmond, a professional player with a very active career in the Los Angeles jazz scene and a guest artists at the jazz camp; pianist Reggie Thomas, a seasoned professional who teaches at Southern Illinois University at Carbondale and also a guest artist for the camp; and bassist Mark Urness from the UI faculty.

Now in its fourth summer season, JUISE was started as an opportunity for local professionals to get together and read music they all enjoyed. The group has now turned more to public performance, but without loosing any of the fun. Their Thursday night performance will feature works arranged by the music camp’s guest artists, Richmond and Thomas.

Rapson said: “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.”

The members of JUISE are by section are:

-- Trumpets Brent Sandy, a UI and Cornell College faculty member; John Cord, a UI jazz student from Newhall; Steve Wheeler from Council Bluffs; Steve Hanson from Coralville.

--Trombones Rapson; Mike McMann, a UI alumnus now teaching in eastern Iowa; Aaron Rader, a recent UI alumnus; and Bryan Hardester, a doctoral student at the UI;

-- Saxophones Richmond; Bob Thompson, a local professional player; Luke Ziegenhorn, a UI jazz student from Muscatine; UI alumnus Ed McKinley; and Ben Lazano a UI student from Des Moines;

--Rhythm section players Thomas on piano; 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.

The All-State Music Camp is sponsored by the UI School of Music and directed by Kevin Kastens, who also directs the UI Hawkeye Marching Band.

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

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