The University of Houston’s acclaimed Moores Jazz Orchestra is celebrating Jazz Appreciation Month in a big way. In April, the group – led by professor Noe Marmolejo – will reopen the Great American Songbook to spotlight the musicians that helped transform American popular music.
On April 20, the orchestra will take audiences on a trip through time visiting the composers and music that helped to generated America’s purest art form. “The Great American Songbook Part 2” will continue a musical exploration that began in the spring of 2014. Composers to be highlighted include Hoagy Carmichael, Richard Rodgers, Johnny Mercer, Herman Hupfeld, and a world premiere overture by Moores School of Music alum Aaron Lington. The music begins at 7:30 p.m. in the Moores Opera House. Ticket prices are $12 and $7. They can be purchased online or by calling 713-743-3313.
Complementing the Jazz Orchestra’s performance will be narration from Jenni Rebecca Stephenson and images projected behind the orchestra.
“In the 1920s, 30s and 40s, there was a huge industry in New York called Tin Pan Alley,” Marmolejo said. “That was a rich period in American music. Jazz musicians at that time gravitated toward the songs of musical theater because they were popular and very lyrical. The jazz interpretations that emerged from this period created a new genre of music that continues to inspire audiences.”
During this performance, the orchestra will be joined by guest vocalists Tianna Hall and UH alumnus and recording artist Henry Darragh.
Last year, the Moores Jazz Orchestra began its musical survey of the Great American Songbook taking audiences on an odyssey of sight and sound accompanied by a historical narrative.
The Moores Jazz Orchestra is one of the ensembles in the UH Moores School of Music’s jazz department. It performs on campus and around the city. Each year, it collaborates with top players and national recording artists during the Moores Jazz Festival and campus residencies. Among those who have visited campus are trumpet master and film score composer Terrance Blanchard, sax man Bill Evans, noted educator and saxophonist Brad Leali, Blood, Sweat and Tears trumpet player Lew Soloff and many others have visited campus to perform with the orchestra. To learn more about the Moores Jazz Orchestra, visit the UH Jazz website.