Towson University Jazz Ensemble

With the Old Man in Mind

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First a few stats about this vibrant and brassy jazz ensemble: They've been awarded many trophies for top honors in national festivals and competitions, including the Villanova Jazz Festival 2000, where Towson won first place for Best Band, Best Trombone Section, and Best Rhythm Section. The band is best known for their artistic performances of the new time signatures and complex harmonic ideas created by Hank Levy, who is credited as "The Old Man" who gave birth to jazz at Towson. This disc captures the spirit of both Levy (who wrote or arranged each piece) and Stan Kenton (Levy played sax once upon a time in Kenton's band). The jumping, percussive closing track "With the Old Man in Mind" was written for Kenton's 80th birthday celebration. Other standout pieces are the bright, celebratory introduction piece "The Opener," featuring solo saxman Adam Grimm and guitarist Brian Swain; a graceful cover of "Green Dolphin Street"; Charlie Parker's swinging, trio-led piece "Billies Bounce"; and the heartfelt Richard Rodgers tune "Little Girl Blue." Under the direction of director Ron Diehl, this college band holds its own with any modern big band ensemble.