Jazz Sextet Tops the Score at Festival
The UConn Jazz Sextet, directed by Earl MacDonald, received first place at the Villanova University Jazz Festival held at the end of March.
Other participating schools included Johns Hopkins University, Temple University, Canisius College, Towson University, Grove City College, Lebanon Valley College, Montclair State University, and Central Connecticut State University.
"It excites me that our combo beat schools with very well established jazz programs, despite the fact that we do not yet have a jazz major in place," says MacDonald, who is director of jazz studies. "Just imagine where our jazz program will be in a couple of years."
The sextet performed Wayne Shorter's arrangement of 'Caravan'; 'The Perpetrator' by Michael Philip Mossman, and 'Totem Pole' by Lee Morgan, arranged by Bill Longo, the combo's trumpet player.
In addition, MacDonald arranged to have the UConn Jazz Ensemble's rhythm section accompany jazz legend Clark Terry during an afternoon masterclass. Eighty-year-old Terry, a trumpet player, has played with Count Basie and Duke Ellington.
Members of the sextet, all of whom are music or music education majors, are: senior Fran Ieraci, bass; freshman Matt Janiszewski, alto sax; senior Floyd Kellogg, drums; junior Bill Longo, trumpet; junior Mark Obolewicz, tenor sax; and junior Tom Thorndike, piano. During the Villanova festival, Kellogg was recognized as an outstanding soloist.
The group is scheduled to perform on the main stage at the Hartford International Jazz Festival on July 21.