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University of Iowa News Release


Oct. 24, 2008

PHOTO: Norwegian jazz composer Gier Lysne

Johnson County Landmark jazz band to present 'Jazz in a New Millennium' Nov. 9

The University of Iowa Johnson County Landmark jazz band (JCL) will stress music of the 21st century in "Jazz in a New Millennium," a concert at 8 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 9, in the Englert Theatre in downtown Iowa City.

The concert, led by UI Director of Jazz Studies John Rapson, will be free and open to the public.

"This program provides a very good snapshot of what jazz looks like in the new millennium," Rapson said. "The pieces are orchestral in approach, demonstrating an awareness of both classical music and pop -- not to mention world beat. They employ a variety of rhythms and timbres yielding many surprises, sometimes humorous, sometimes ominous. And the tunes are 'tuneful' -- they are memorable and sing-able, but sometimes quirky."

Two pieces on the program -- "Maxfield for painter Maxfield Parrish" and "The Music of Life" -- are recent works by jazz drummer, composer and bandleader John Hollenbeck, who Rapson calls "maybe the jazz luminary du jour."

"He has garnered many awards, including the Guggenheim, and seems to put out a ground-breaking album every year," he said. "He has more than an average interest in painting and poetry -- his last album, 'Joys and Desires,' has a three-part work based on William Blake's poem 'Garden of Love' -- and his music sensibilities are all over the map. Yet he manages these disparate elements with finesse and unity."

Also represented with major works on the program are two Norwegian composers, Helge Sunde and Gier Lysne. "I firmly believe that Scandinavia -- especially Norway -- is producing the most singular, forward-looking music in jazz over the past decade," Rapson said.

"The label ECM has become the Columbia or Blue Note of our era and 85 percent of the musicians on that label come from Northern Europe. I am sure that many of our audience will not know the names of these composers when they walk into the Englert, but I bet many will keep their programs and look for their recordings once we're done playing."

The program will also feature two recent arrangements of slightly older jazz works: "You Don't Know What Love Is" by Don Raye and Gene de Paul, arranged by Los Angeles jazz saxophonist and an adjunct professor at the University of Southern California, Kim Richmond; and Miles Davis' "Nature Boy," arranged by UI doctoral student Joel Vanderheyden. A saxophone student of UI faculty member Kenneth Tse, Vanderheyden will be a soloist in "Nature Boy" and other works on the program.

The versatile Hollenbeck has performed small-group jazz with Fred Hersch, Toony Malaby and Bob Brookmeyer, klezmer with David Krakauer's Klezmer Madness, and with Astor Piazzola's pianist Pablo Ziegler at Carnegie Hall. He has been nominated for national honors by both the Jazz Journalists Association and Down Beat Magazine. For more information visit

The quirky Norwegian Sunde wrote of his career, "I was born 9-6-1965, and started immediately to make strange sounds, something I continued doing during my childhood days in Stryn, from the age of 8 mostly through pieces of metal, mainly a trombone. So, one thing led to another and I ended up with a master's degree in composition from The Norwegian State Academy of Music." For more details visit

Lysne lives with his wife, his two sons and five chickens in a wooden house not far from Oslo. He says, "I am not concerned about styles linked to the big band tradition. For me the big band is just an instrumentation with unique possibilities for color and rhythm." For more information visit

Rapson joined the faculty of the UI School of Music as director of jazz studies in August 1993. A recording artist for the Sound Aspects and Nine Winds labels, he is a composer and trombonist whose work mixes ethnic and experimental elements with more conventional jazz forms. For more information on Rapson visit

JCL has been performing at the UI since the 1960s. The group has traveled to jazz festivals in the United States and Europe, picking up awards on both sides of the Atlantic. In recent years the group has collaborated with leading jazz artists, including their concerts in 2001 with Carla Bley and Steve Swallow.

The mission of the Englert Civic Theatre, Inc., is to own, maintain and operate the Englert Theatre as a community arts center and performance space, enhancing the vitality of Iowa City's historic downtown by preserving its last historic theater. For more information about the Englert visit

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

For UI arts information and calendar updates visit To receive UI arts news by e-mail, go to and click the link "Join or Leave ACR News," then follow the instructions.

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

MEDIA CONTACT: Peter Alexander, Arts Center Relations, 319-384-0072 (office) 319-541-2846 (cell),