On Saturday (July 5) at 9 pm, the Jon Armstrong Jazz Orchestra, which includes 17 CalArtians, celebrates the release of its debut album, Farewell, on Orenda Records with a show at the Blue Whale in Downtown Los Angeles.
The band—led by namesake and saxophonist Jon Armstrong (Music MFA 08)—will feature a new seven-movement, large-scale composition for 21-piece big band in its entirety.
Orenda Records explains Armstrong's influences:
In preparation for this project, I spent over a year studying a wide range of music to focus my compositional voice and to determine what moves me as a listener. I was able to narrow it down to four specific influences: big band, modern classical, world music, and experimental electronica. Big Band music is unique in its powerful and dramatic compositions, enhanced with improvisation. Modern classical music caught my attention with its rich orchestration and lush textures. In addition, I was drawn to Various World Music Traditions such as Qwwali music from Pakistan, Mystical Persian music from Iran, classical and folk music from India, and Ewe music from Ghana. Experimental electronic music expanded my sound palette and changed my sense of pace.
In addition to conductor Armstrong, reed players include Gavin Templeton (MFA 08), Joe Santa Maria (MFA 09), Brian Walsh (MFA 08), Andrew Conrad (MFA 09) and Erin Armstrong (MFA 08). Trumpeters Michael Steever, Daniel Rosenboom (MFA 08), Josh Aguiar (MFA 07) and Clinton Patterson (MFA 07) as well as trombonists Joey Sellars, Ryan Dragon, Harrison Kirk (MFA 10), Julianne Gralle and tubist Stefan Kac (MFA 13) round out the brass section.
The rhythm section features pianist Gary Fukushima (MFA 05), upright bassist Benjamin Shephard (BFA 12), guitarist Alexander Noice (BFA 08), drummer Tina Raymond (MFA 10) and world percussionists faculty Randy Gloss (MFA 97) and Chris Payne (MFA 08).
Orenda Records, a label founded and music directed by Rosenboom, represents 11 bands. All Orenda album covers, including Farewell (posted above), are designed by Eron Rauch.
A video of the orchestra's April 16, 2014, performance follows:
Jon Armstrong Jazz Orchestra Release Show
July 5, 8 pm
123 Astronaut E S Onizuka St. Suite 301