Purdue Bands’ Super Jazz Jam presents the unexpected on April 1

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — The Purdue Bands will push musical boundaries at the “Super Jazz Jam” on Friday, April 1st (April Fools Day) at 8:00p in Stewart Center’s Loeb Playhouse on the West Lafayette campus.

Admission is free for the event featuring the Purdue Jazz Band, American Music Repertory Ensemble, Lab Jazz Band and Concert Jazz Band.

All four bands celebrate this crazy “holiday” devoted to prank-pulling that occupies a small niche in history. Prior to 1582 and the introduction of the Gregorian Calendar, New Year’s Day was celebrated on April 1. Because it is human nature to despise radical change, obstinate individuals came to be labeled fools and were often sent on fool’s errands on April 1.

“At the ‘Super Jazz Jam’ we’re going to be pushing the boundaries,” says Director M.T. “Mo” Trout playfully. The tunes he intends to pull out of his bag are ones with funny names and funky rhythms with a surprise at every turn.

“These are unexpected concert tunes, not your usual swing stuff. There are examples of how musicians from different cultures have adapted jazz to fit world music, and there are examples of musicians just having fun in the composition process,” he says.

Among the many beats to be heard is a “Dancing with the Stars” mix of danceable rhythms – tango, mambo, samba, rock, cha-cha, even driving Celtic folksongs represented by a medley from “Riverdance.”

Tito Puente’s arrangement of “Take Five,” in four beats per measure instead of five, has fun with a well-known Dave Brubeck tune.

“Old MacDonald” takes its inspiration from the kids’ song but takes it in a more adult direction. “Frank Sinatra’s adaptation of this traditional tune focuses mainly on chicks as in women,” he says.

Michael Philip Mossman’s “The Dance of Denial” could easily have an alternate title with a double entendre, Trout adds. The Egyptian-themed tune could easily be “The Dance of the Nile.”

Gordon Goodman’s “Hunting Wabbits” musically recalls the antics of Bugs Bunny.

Other tunes to be performed include “The Chicken” by Alfred James Ellis, “Song for Bilbao” by Pat Metheny, “Zambia” by Mario Bauza and “Libertango” by Astor Piazzolla. There will be vocal highlights, as well, with Lafayette senior Joel Benson, singing “Desafinado” by Antonio Carlos Jobim and Clinton, Conn. senior Samantha Lee singing “Amapola” by Roldan and Lacalle.

The concert is sponsored by Purdue Bands & Orchestras. The jazz band’s final appearance of the 2010-11 season will be at “Jazz on the Hill” at Slayter Center on May 1.

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