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University of Iowa News Release

Sept. 11, 2006

John Rapson Discusses Jazz For Saturday Scholars Sept. 16

John Rapson, head of the jazz program at the University of Iowa School of Music, will discuss "The Curious Appearance of Jazz and Improvisation in the 20th Century," at 10 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 16, in Room 40 of Schaeffer Hall, the southeast building on the UI Pentacrest.

Rapson will be joined for the program by the Iowa City jazz group Polutropos.

The Saturday Scholars events, presented by the UI College of Liberal Arts and Sciences (CLAS), are free and open to the public. Each session includes a 20-30 minute presentation followed by a question-and-answer period. Refreshments will be served.

"Our faculty members are doing some very exciting work, and we are eager to share some of it with the public through the Saturday Scholars series," said Linda Maxson, CLAS dean. "The breadth and scope of our college allows us to present a wide variety of topics in the arts, sciences and humanities, so there should be something here for everyone."

In his Sept. 16 talk, Rapson will discuss the same topics that have made his course in jazz history one of the most popular classes on campus. He will explore questions about jazz, including why it could only have appeared in America; how jazz improvisation is like other musical traditions and how it is different; and why jazz musicians sometimes read music and sometimes make it up "right off the top of their heads."

Polutropos takes its name from a Greek term meaning diversity of styles, or many ways of saying the same thing. Members of Polutropos are Bob Domsic, saxophones; Nik Gruber, guitar; Israel Neuman, bass; and Paul Kresowik, drums. Dedicated to the performance of original music composed by its members, Polutropos performs regularly at Iowa City's jazz venues and appeared at the 2006 Iowa City Jazz Festival.

For more information on the Sept. 16 "Saturday Scholars" event, see

Others events in the 2006 "Saturday Scholars" series will be:

Sept. 30: "Journey to the Center of the Milky Way Galaxy," Cornelia Lang, assistant professor of physics and astronomy

Oct. 14: "Waving Your Arms: A Conductor Struggles to be Understood," Timothy Stalter, associate professor of music

Oct. 28: "Development and Disease: Fishing for Answers," Diane Slusarski, associate professor of biological sciences

Nov. 11: "Politics: What's Emotion Got to Do With It?" David Redlawsk, associate professor of political science

Individuals with disabilities are encouraged to attend all University of Iowa-sponsored events. If you are a person with a disability who requires an accommodation in order to participate in this program, please contact College of Liberal Arts and Sciences in advance at 319-335-2611.

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa Arts Center Relations, 300 Plaza Centre One, Suite 351, Iowa City, IA 52242-2500.

MEDIA CONTACT: Peter Alexander, 319-384-0072,

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