Jazz ensembles present annual “Swing into Spring” concerts

By Shawn Touney | Mar 30, 2023

Murray State Jazz Orchestra

Murray State Jazz Orchestra

MURRAY, Ky. Recently-renovated Lovett Auditorium will host the Murray State University Jazz Ensembles for "Swing into Spring 2023" at 6:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, April 4. The concert is free and open to the public. The groups are directed by Dr. Todd E. Hill, professor of Music and director of Jazz Studies at Murray State.

At 6:30 p.m., the Jazz Combo “Tentette” will focus on small group style and feature improvisation. Selections will include Dizzy Gillespie’s “Woody n’ You (Algo Bueno)” and “Con Alma,” John Coltrane’s “Blue Train” and “Moment’s Notice,” and Thelonious Monk’s “Epistrophy” and “Well, You Needn’t.” 

The Tentette includes:

Bek Schmidt (trumpet) of Memphis, Tennessee

Caleb Dries (alto sax) of Louisville, Kentucky

Declan Bingham (tenor sax) of Paducah, Kentucky

Corey White (tenor sax) of Hamilton, New Jersey

Devin Richards (baritone sax) of Benton, Kentucky

Clay Barnard (piano) of Nixa, Missouri

John Sowers (guitar) of Lancaster, Kentucky

Sean Howell (bass) of Mayfield, Kentucky

Nelson Youngblood IV (drums/percussion) of Union City, Tennessee

Evan Carlton (drums/percussion) of Madisonville, Kentucky

The Murray State Jazz Band will come to the stage to open the Big Band portion of the program beginning at 7:30 p.m. The band will perform five big band classics for their program: “The Opener” by Carl Strommen, “Harlem Nocturne” by Earle Hagen, “Woodchopper’s Ball” by Woody Herman, “The Golden Horns,” a trombone section feature by Dick Fenno, and “Birdland” composed by Joe Zawinul and featured by the 1970s jazz fusion group “Weather Report.” 

The band consists of 20 students and includes the following:

Saxophonists are Jake Glatczak (Desloge, Missouri), Noah Baker (Mayfield, Kentucky), Briah Cook (Paducah, Kentucky), Cooper Barnett and Rachel Price (Evansville, Indiana). 

Trumpets are Alyssa Shrader (Henderson, Kentucky), Austin Kosuszek (Ashley, Illinois), Maddie Beck (Mayfield, Kentucky), Frank Newton (Owensboro, Kentucky), Macy Barron (Paris, Tennessee) and Ben Sauls (Evansville, Indiana). 

Trombones are Shelby Starks (Benton, Kentucky), Aaron Yocum (Utica, Kentucky), Austin Wright (Hopkinsville, Kentucky), and Ethan Pennycuick (Eureka, Missouri). 

The rhythm section is Grey Scott, piano (Paducah, Kentucky), Gavin Miller Watkins, guitar (Hartford, Kentucky), Tim Lewis, bass (Paducah, Kentucky), Lily Cohoon, drums (Boonville, Indiana) and Devin Owens, drums (Elizabethtown, Kentucky).

After a short intermission to change sets, the award-winning Murray State Jazz Orchestra will perform Count Basie's "The Magic Flea," Tommy Dorsey’s version of “On the Sunny Side of the Street” arranged by Sy Oliver, Charlie Parker’s “Just Friends” as arranged for Supersax by Med Flory,  Duke Ellington’s recorded version of “The Royal Garden Blues” arranged by Billy Strayhorn, and “Sir Duke,” written in tribute to Ellington by Stevie Wonder. A string trio will be added for “Sunny Side” and “Just Friends.” After a brief set change, senior saxophonist Liam Newman, a four-year Jazz Orchestra member from Wildwood, Missouri will perform “Georgia On My Mind” as a feature. The orchestra will then perform Stan Kenton’s version of Billy Strayhorn’s “Lush Life” featuring Hill at the piano and senior Luke Weatherly on trombone, and close with a jazz fusion classic “Some Skunk Funk” from the Brecker Brothers’ “Heavy Metal Bebop” album.  

The orchestra consists of 24 musicians and includes:

Saxophonists Caleb Dries (Louisville, Kentucky), Declan Bingham (Paducah, Kentucky), Nicholas Mehne (Evansville, Indiana), Gavin Jones and Devin Richards (Benton, Kentucky) and Liam Newman (Wildwood, Missouri).

Trumpets are Max Welch (Evansville, Indiana), McKenna Jewel (Murray, Kentucky), Bek Schmidt (Memphis, Tennessee), Max Brueggeman (Belleville, Illinois) and David Kidd (Henderson, Kentucky). 

Trombones are Luke Weatherly (Paris, Tennessee), Joey Noble (Maryland Heights, Missouri), Dillon Smith and Jeremiah Morris (Murray, Kentucky) and Aaron Beach (Paducah, Kentucky). 

Rhythm players are Amberly Tilford, piano (Paducah, Kentucky), Preston Frensley, (Mayfield, Kentucky), Sean Shelton, bass (Murray, Kentucky), and drummer/percussionists Nelson Youngblood (Union City, Tennessee) and Evan Carlton (Madisonville, Kentucky). 

Strings are Lydia Sahawneh (violin) of Boaz, Kentucky, Tim Lewis (violin) and Grey Scott (viola) of Boaz, Kentucky.


The concert will be recorded and broadcast at a later date on WKMS 91.3 FM. 

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