ROCHESTER, NY — The award-winning Eastman Jazz Ensemble presents its much anticipated first concert of the season under its new director, Bill Dobbins, at 8 p.m., Thursday, December 5, in Kilbourn Hall (26 Gibbs St.). Dobbins — an acclaimed jazz conductor, composer, arranger, and performer who taught at Eastman from 1973-1994 — returned to the School this fall after spending eight years in Germany leading one of the world’s premier jazz ensembles, the WDR Big Band.
Dobbins will conduct the ensemble in the first half of the concert, which features two works he arranged for the WDR Big Band based on Bill Evans performances (Evans’ Show-Type Tune and On A Clear Day by Lerner and Lane) as well as several works composed or arranged by Eastman’s jazz composition majors. He also will lead the ensemble in an arrangement of Limehouse Blues by special guest Bill Holman — considered by many to be one of the most interesting and persuasive arrangers in jazz. Holman, whose visit to Eastman is made possible by the Will Moyle Fund, has led a remarkable career as a composer, arranger, saxophonist, and bandleader. He has recorded several albums, worked with some of the biggest names in jazz, received seven Grammy nominations, and earned one Grammy Award (in 1987) for best instrumental arrangement.
After intermission, Holman himself will lead the ensemble in a selection of his own arrangements and compositions — some of which have never been performed in Rochester. Two works (Friday the Thirteenth and Thelonious) are from his CD Brilliant Corners, featuring his arrangements of Thelonious Monk’s music. Others have only been written within the last three years, and have not yet been released commercially.
The concert is free and open to the public.