The Edmond Sun

Arts & Entertainment

February 2, 2014

Jazz Lab celebrates anniversary with Count Basie Orchestra

EDMOND — The University of Central Oklahoma in collaboration with Tres Amigos Productions presents The Legendary Count Basie Orchestra directed by Dennis Mackrel in concert at 8 p.m. Feb. 13 at the UCO Jazz Lab, 100 E. Fifth St. in Edmond. The concert celebrates the lab’s 12th anniversary.  

“The Count Basie Orchestra is without a doubt the most famous big band in all of American music history,” said Brian Gorrell, head of Central’s Jazz Studies Division.           

Founded by pianist William “Count” Basie in 1935, the Count Basie Orchestra has won 17 Grammy Awards, more than any other jazz orchestra to date.  They have also won 20 awards collectively from “DownBeat Magazine,” “JazzTimes Readers” and “Critics Poll.”           

“Basie absorbed all the influences around him, producing a swing sound that was richer, deeper, more soulful than anyone else,” said Gorrell.           

After Basie passed away in 1984, several other big names in jazz have directed the orchestra, including Eric Dixon, Thad Jones, Frank Foster, Scotty Barnhart and Dennis Mackrel.           

“The orchestra has the reputation of sounding every bit as good now as they did 50 years ago,” explained Gorrell.         

For their performance at the Jazz Lab, the orchestra will play some of their biggest hits mixed in with some newer tunes.           

“This is an incredibly rare opportunity for Oklahoma to experience the Basie band, especially in the intimate setting of the UCO Jazz Lab,” said Gorrell.           

Since opening its doors 12 years ago under the leadership of former Central president W. Roger Webb, Ph.D., the UCO Jazz Lab has repeatedly been named the “Best Place for Live Jazz and Blues” and the “Best Live Music Club” by readers of The Oklahoman and the Oklahoma Gazette.

“The Jazz Lab presents a unique opportunity for the community to hear students, faculty and professionals and for UCO Jazz Studies students to learn from a wide variety of jazz legends,” said Pamela Washington, Ph.D., dean of the College of Fine Arts and Design.           

“If you have not been to the Jazz Lab lately, this performance is an opportunity to renew your passions for the best live music experience.”           

Tickets for this performance are $75 and can be purchased by calling 405-340-8552 during regular business hours.            

For more information regarding this event or the UCO Jazz Lab, contact Gorrell at bgorrell@uco.edu or visit www.ucojazzlab.com.

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