December 1, 2011 — Over a centuryafter jazz was first born in New Orleans some say by a group of teenagers called the “Razzy Dazzy Spasm Band” and others say by a 12-year-old Jelly Roll Morton the Drexel Music program will celebrate this uniquely American musical art form as one of nine free concerts that begin right after the Thanksgiving break.
On Thursday, December 1st at 8:00 PM, the Drexel Jazz Orchestra will play the music of Duke Ellington, Miles Davis, JJ Johnson, Phil Woods, and other jazz icons. The concert will feature songs like “Sultry Sunset,” a composition written by the legendary Duke Ellington as a feature for one of history’s finest jazz soloists, alto saxophonist Johnny Hodges. The Jazz Orchestra will have you swinging with Miles Davis’ “Boplicity ,” a composition from the seminal “Birth of the Cool” recordings of 1949 - 1950, arranged by longtime Davis collaborator Gil Evans.
On Saturday, December 3rd, the Vocal Jazz Ensemble, Naturally Sharp, gets into the swing of things at 3 PM in the Mandell Theater with jazz hits like “Chattanooga Choo Choo .” As the #1 song for nine weeks in 1941, “Choo Choo” was the first album ever to be certified as “gold.” The ensemble will also sing Louis Jordan’s legendary “Saturday Night Fish Fry,” now regarded as one of the first rock and roll recordings ever, this Jump blues hit was one of the earliest “race records” to achieve crossover success on national charts back in 1949.