News Releases

Jazz Ensemble Prepares for Spring Show

April 05, 2016

The Lander University Jazz Ensemble’s Thursday, April 7, show will pay homage to an assortment of jazz greats, big band leaders and esteemed songwriters.

The concert starts at 8 p.m. in the Josephine B. Abney Cultural Center Auditorium. Admission is free.

Big band leaders Count Basie, Stan Kenton, Artie Shaw and Nelson Riddle all get their due. Selections include Basie’s “Switch in Time,” by Sammy Nestico; Stan Kenton’s version of “Over the Rainbow”; Cole Porter’s “Begin the Beguine,” popularized by Artie Shaw; and two Nelson Riddle arrangements for Ella Fitzgerald, “Soon,” from the Gershwin brothers’ songbook, and “Love Me or Leave Me.”

Trombonist Joey McClain, of Lugoff, will be the featured soloist on “Over the Rainbow”; clarinetist Amber Anderson, of Laurens, will play a solo on “Begin the Beguine”; and Chelsea Croft, of Columbia, will sing “Love Me or Leave Me” and “Soon.”

Professor of Music Dr. Robert Gardiner, who directs the ensemble, said that Croft has been a pleasant surprise.

“She’s only been with us for a little while, but she’s very good,” he said.

Gardiner’s reverence for Duke Ellington can be seen in the fact that he begins with Ellington’s reworking of “Anitra’s Dance,” by Norwegian composer Edvard Grieg, and ends with Ellington’s “Rockin’ in Rhythm.”

“Jelly Roll,” by jazz giant Charles Mingus, is also in the mix, as are “Josie,” by Steely Dan, “Mofongo,” by Bob Mintzer and “Man in the Mirror,” made famous by Michael Jackson.

Gardiner called it “a diverse program with contrasting selections by many of the great big bands, with some modern jazz and a little pop thrown in.”

He invited the public to join him for what he predicted would be an entertaining show.

Chelsea Croft_edited

Senior music major Chelsea Croft, of Columbia, will be the featured vocalist in the Lander Jazz Ensemble’s Thursday, April 7 show.