UVA Jazz Ensemble Spring 2024 Concert

The Original JazzManiac, featuring baritone saxophonist Glenn Wilson
April 6, 2024 - 8:00pm
Old Cabell Hall
$10 / $9 UVA Faculty & Staff / $5 students / Free for UVA Students who reserve in advance

On Saturday, April 6th, at 8:00 PM in Old Cabell Auditorium, the UVA Jazz Ensemble, directed by John D’earth, will present their spring 2024 concert The Original JazzManiac featuring D’earth’s longtime friend and collaborator, baritone saxophonist Glenn Wilson. John and Glenn have been playing together for decades, first, as band mates in Doug Richard’s celebrated GAME Orchestra (Great American Music Ensemble) and as collaborators on their own projects through the years. In 2012 they released a live album, Timely, on CADENCE JAZZ RECORDS. Both are veterans of the Buddy Rich and Lionel Hampton big bands.

Glenn lived in Richmond for many years and was a vital part of the Central Virginia jazz scene. He fronted The JazzManiacs, a band he co-led with pianist Steve Kessler, hence the title of the concert.

“Glenn is one of the greatest improvisors I know,” says D’earth.  So much of what jazz improvisors play is learned and recited in re-combinations.  It is rare when a player truly improvises, when ideas and execution stay fresh at every moment. Glenn is one of those players. I want to expose my students, not just to his expertise, but to his artistry.”

The concert will feature a mix of classic and progressive titles. Chestnuts like Angel Eyes, featuring lead alto saxophonist Connor Rose, and Dizzy Gillespie’s Salt Peanuts will keep company with D’earth’s arrangement of Charles Mingus’ Reincarnation of a Lovebird, and Glenn Wilson’s arrangement of Devil May Care, a vocal tune featuring fourth year singers Anna Yankowski and Catalina Cueto.

“Followers of the band will notice that our trombone section is five-strong this year and extremely competent and solid!” D’earth said.  “We will feature them in the admonitory jazz-education polemic, Keep it Simple!”

A highlight of the evening will be the ensemble’s performance of Epiphany, the first big band composition/arrangement by first year guitarist Grant MacMillan.  “Grant is full of talent and ambition,” says D’earth.  “His first attempt at writing for us in a highly evolved and extremely challenging piece of music; we love it! I think people will be amazed when they hear it!”

This concert will be the Jazz Ensemble’s 6th partnering with Jazz4Justice, a non-profit organization that raises money and awareness of Legal Aid through support of collegiate jazz concerts.  The UVA Jazz Ensemble welcomes and endorses their efforts to strengthen Legal Aid which works for equal access to the court system for all citizens.

The UVA Jazz Ensemble, under the direction of trumpeter/composer John D’earth, has become one of the more creative college big bands in the country. The group’s performances feature classic repertoire from across the spectrum of jazz history, jazz arrangements of music from diverse genres, and original compositions and arrangements by the students and the director.

The ensemble comprises of undergraduates, graduate students, and community members. They offer two concerts per academic year and present numerous guest artists from our area, and from the national and international jazz scene.

Giving two major concerts a year in Old Cabell Auditorium and various extra performances, the Jazz Ensemble is an extended big band that includes flutes, vocalists, and, sometimes, other instruments not normally associated with big band music. 

The Jazz Ensemble encourages its members to immerse themselves in the art form called jazz, to understand its history, and to listen, repeatedly, to the music. Jazz, and the blues from which it sprang, are both gifts from Black America to the rest of the world. Jazz gives music back to the musicians by teaching two things: 1. master musical language on your instrument, and 2. Tell your own story; “Be yourself, everyone else is already taken,” as Oscar Wilde exhorted. The UVA Jazz Ensemble avidly pursues these twin goals of expertise and creative expression.

The UVA Jazz Program focuses on developing the individual voices of our jazz students. It follows the Duke Ellington model of how to build a jazz orchestra: allow and encourage the distinct musical personalities of the musicians to create the overall sound and direction of the music.

John D'earth is the University of Virginia's Director of Jazz Performance. John D’earth plays trumpet with a striking, original sound and a technique that he mobilizes for spitfire improvisation and gripping melodies. A consummate jazz artist, composer, and gifted educator, he draws inspiration from collaborators on the bandstand, from students, and from nature. Internationally known for his contributions in straight-ahead jazz (D’earth served as foil to guitarist Emily Remler, added brawn to the George Gruntz Big Band, and played on Bob Moses’ early recordings) he exhibits omnivorous musical tastes including free improvisation, mainstream rock, and modern classical music. Since he joined the musicians union at age fourteen this wildly eclectic musician has performed across the globe. He appears on over 100 recordings on vinyl, CDs, film, and video in a career that spans the analogue and digital eras. Despite a commanding musical presence he possesses an uncanny ability to bring out the best in musicians with whom he shares the bandstand. All of this is evident on his newly released album, Coin Of The Realm, (Cosmology Records 2023). This song cycle of originals, recorded with his long-standing quintet, reveals a musician who, in his seventies, is still evolving and very much in his creative prime. Find out more about John D'earth here.

To find out more about Jazz events at UVA, visit https://music.virginia.edu/jazz-events.

Tickets are $10 for the general public,  $9 for UVA Faculty & Staff,  $5 for students, and Free for UVA Students who reserve in advance. Tickets can be purchased at the UVA Arts Box Office, on-line at https://artsboxoffice.virginia.edu/, by phone (434) 924-3376 or in person at the Arts Box Office or at the door on the night of the concert. The UVA Arts Box Office is located on the John and Betsy Casteen Arts Grounds, inside the lobby of the UVA Drama Building at 109 Culbreth Road. For directions, please visit UVA Visitors Map or view directions via Google Maps.

Old Cabell Hall is located on the south end of UVA’s historic lawn, directly opposite the Rotunda (map). Parking is available in the central grounds parking garage on Emmet Street, in the C1 parking lot off McCormick Rd, and in the parking lots at the UVA Corner. Handicap parking is available in the small parking lot adjacent to Bryan Hall.

All programs are subject to change.

Contact UVA Music for more information (434.924.3052 or music@virginia.edu).

Click here to add to your Google Calendar


UVA Department of Music
112 Old Cabell Hall
P.O. Box 400176 Charlottesville, VA 22904-4176

Email: music@virginia.edu