UNLV Jazz Ensemble


That's a Wrap

1996 0 out of 50 out of 50 out of 50 out of 50 out of 5 0 RATINGS
That's a Wrap


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Released May 1996
Edition date May 1996





Blue - Composed and arranged by Bobby Shaw, this chart is dedicated to the late, great jazz trumpet player, Blue Mitchell. This beautiful ballad features the artistry of Tom Ehlen on the 110gelhorn. The high-impact introduction sets up the weeping melody that is masterfully performed by Tom. Tom's virtuous solo builds into a soaring shout chorus featuring the trumpet section. Tom once again comes in with the haunting melody to end the piece with a sense of tranquility.


Waltz On - This chart was composed and arranged by the late Herbie Phillips who left us at the early age of 60. Herbie, a long-time Las Vegan, was a wonderful jazz trumpet player respected and loved by all. He was a great friend of the UNL.V Jazz Program. The performance of this chart is our way of thanking Herbie for all the enjoyment and inspiration he has brought us in his charts. This magnificent chart is a double blues in waltz time. The melody is first heard in unison with the tenors and bad, joined later by the altos into four part harmony. This is followed by an incredibly intense section that features the trumpets. Chuck Dalton's trumpet solo dances over the changes leading into a swingin tenor solo by Doug Wright. Rodney Teague does a fantastic 'bone solo setting up a marvelous bebop soli that features the entire band! Thank you, Herbie!


Catch the ReBop Trane - Composed and arranged by Neil Finn, this is an up-tempo swing chart based on the "Take the 'A' Train" changes. Etsuko Koba's piano solo in a Basie style sets up the band nicely. Soon to follow is an excellent solo by Rob Stone on alto sax. Just as the band really starts cooking, everyone cuts out and the 'bone section leads the train through some rough terrain. But wait, it's not over, Nathan Tanouye and Dave Philippus trade solos just in time for the train to arrive back home. This train you definitely do not want to miss. —Daniel Philippus


Polka Dots and Moonbeams - This magnificent ballad speaks for itself. It features the smooth playing of Rodney Teague. The band is very powerful in adding support to the wonderful body of the arrangement. Just sit back and soak in the beautiful sounds.


Come May - There are many pleasures that one receives in playing in a group like this. One of them is being able to play with such high quality musicians and people. Nathan Tanouye has added much quality to the band since we recruited him at the Hawaiian International Jazz Festival. His beautiful tone and his advanced style is perfect for the high-demand trombone solo. "Come May" displays all the angles of Nathan's playing. From his strong command in the rubato section through his fast technique in the up-tempo section, Nathan plays it all with ease. The solo returns back to a rubato section with Nathan leading the way. His talent with the superb sounds of the band, "Come May" is a gratifying music experience.


That's a Wrap! - This composition and arrangement is a conclusion to the many years of intense work and dedication Frank Gagliardi has put into his bands. The simple but clever style of his writing has blessed the band with many of his works. Etsuko sets the mood first with her tasty piano talents of this easy-swing chart. The theme starts with a strong sax section presence joined later by the trombones, then followed by full brass which leads into a spicy tenor solo by Gustavo Lizarraga. After Gus' impressive solo, the chart leads into a tutti by the entire band, a sax and trombone soli, and then back to a tuft'. Etsuko again plays a wonderfully tasty six bars before Chris Benham, the band's ace drummer, sets the band up beautifully going into the "shout" chorus. But wait, it's not over. Chris has another great fill setting us up for the last section. With excellent lead trumpet by Tom Ehlen, the band has nothing more to do but "swing". Thinking the chart will end with a roar, Frank cleverly says his final words, 'That's a Wrap" with Etsuko and Chris. —David Philippus


Five Alarm Fire - A burning rendition of a chart whose title gives the band no other choice. Five Alarm Fire is a "no-holds barred" romp without letup from start to finish. The rhythm section demonstrates not only good time, but also a solid groove throughout the chart. It is a rare treat to have a rhythm section this creative and sensitive and still know when to just shut up and "groove'. It's extremely rare in a college band to have a sax section in which all five players can blow like this, and blow they do! They proceed in a down-the-line fashion much reminiscent of "Jazz at the Philharmonic" days. The icing on the cake is the performance by the powerful and extremely tight work of the brass Section throughout.


Survivor Type - During the late 19th Century and into the early part of the 20th, musicians involved in serious art became increasingly obsessed with the idea of the mad scene. This was essentially an exploration of the inner turmoil and dissonance that overtakes a person during their descent into madness. It was a favorite subject of symphonic composers, Arnold Schoenberg and Richard Strauss, and is embraced here in the format of serious big band music. Particularly notable are the expressive solos of Gustavo Lizarraga on tenor and Rich Taylor on guitar. Also, check out the shout section in which all three diminished chords are used simultaneously. This disturbing piece is highly programmatic and is based on the Stephen King short story of the same name, but is an optional, extracurricular assignment.


S.S.T. - At the current time in the history of Big Band Jazz, ills a considerable challenge to find a chart that possesses the characteristics of an unabashed, straight-ahead swinger without its sounding "dated". This chart based on the 'changes'. of "Sweet Georgia Brown" does just that. The amazing thing about S.S.T., aside from burning solos by Philippus, Ehlen, Teague, and Taylor, is that it swings in such a straight-forward old-fashioned way, and yet is definitely a part of the modern "big band" sound. There is definitely something happening here worth hearing, not to mention on the tightest full-band tutti passages you're likely to hear for some time to come. —Doug Wright



Among campus jazz educators/jazz ensemble directors, some have left histories of immutable dediction, inspiring young musicians to reach top measures of excellence in musicianship, inventiveness, and cohesive team work. Frank Gagliardi is indeed one of these rare professionals—an endangered species of successful mien.

Frank and I met 20 years ago when we were on a big band adjudication team at the International Reno Jazz Festival. I vividly recall how I was struck by the critical wisdom and insights he shared in his feedback to students and directors. This quality is eminently expressed in his superb UNLV track record of various achievements. Accorded a multitude of high festival honors, the UNLV jazz ensembles have delivered a powerful suite of assets few university bands rarely approach, performing concert tours in Western Europe, Poland, Japan to South America, plus prestigious domestic venues such as the Kennedy Center and NYC's Village Vanguard.

Regardless of the natural turnstile vintages of the bands through the years, a single prevailing force of consistency is embodied in Frank Gagliardi. So it is that his own mark of spirited excellence and contributions are permanent UNLV traditions and serve as milestones for future instructionalal programs. Deservedly, he can bathe in complete fulfillment. Frank's passion and humbleness persisit in his reflection: "Every time I stand in front of the band, I still get goose bumps!" This farewell dynamite UNLV Jazz Ensemble recording in a string of 12, "That's A Wrap!" caps and wraps his long illustrious career of premium leadership, instructional influence, and creative energies—with fiery enthusiasm and swingin elegance Frank, you are a TOTAL GAS!


-Dr. Herb Wong Past President, IAJE


Not only is this CD entitled, "That's A Wrap!' a great show-piece for the wonderfully strong and internationally acclaimed UNLV Jazz Ensemble, but it is also recognition of the Ensemble's retiring director for the last twenty two years, Frank Gagliardi. When Frank started originating his bands while playing at the Sands Hotel during the 60's and 70's, there were hardly enough players to fill the sections. Today, the UNLV Jazz Program is one of the very best in the nation. The Ensemble has traveled the world performing at Jazz Festivals on every continent of the globe and presently draws outstanding young jazz talents from all over the world. It has won virtually every major collegiate jazz competition offered and its first CD, "Caliente, Muy Caliente" received a five star rating from Downbeat magazine. The Jazz Faculty proudly has several outstanding musicians and teachers. The two gentlemen who will be succeeding Frank are Rocky Winslow, an excellent trumpet artist-teacher, and Stefan Karlsson, world-renowned pianist, composer, and arranger from Sweden. Don Menza continues to be a part of the Jazz Faculty. Some of the Ensemble's greatest travel memories are having performed at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. and at the "Village Vanguard" in New York City.

During the several years of tremendous support to the Jan Program, Frank and the Jazz Ensemble would like to give special thanks to John Unrue and Ken Hanlon for knowing the value of the program and giving it undeniable support. Also, special thanks to Department Chairman Paul Kreider, and Dean of the College of Fine and Performing Arts, Jeff Koep. Additionally to the dedicated, hard work of George Satire, the engineer and director of the UNLV Recording Studio.


UNLV Jazz Ensemble Personnel:


Trumpets Tom Ehlen, Jason Colby, Paul Pugh, Chuck Dalton, Danny Pass


Trombones  David Philippus, Nathan Tanouye, Rodney Teague, Dan Uhrich, Takumi Shinozaki


Saxes Daniel Philippus, Rob Stone, Doug Wright, Gustavo Lizarraga, Steve Dawson


Rhythm Section

Piano: Etsuko Koba-Mader


Bass: Geoff Neuman


Drums: Chris Benham


Guitar: Richard Taylor


Latin Percussion: Orlando "Paco" Santos


Produced by: Frank Gagliardi Recorded and mixed in the UNLV Recording Studio

Engineer: George Satire

Prepared for CD release by: Danny Beher

CD Prep: Matt Snyder, Alpine Recordings, Palos Verdes Peninsula, CA

Graphics: Scott Fuller, ZapSet, Los Angeles, CA

This CD is produced through the support of Robert C. and Gwynneth Weiss.


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