New sounds at the University of New Orleans

The first Jazz at the Sandbar performance of the fall 2012 series was a tribute to the style of guest artist Ellis Marsalis, who was chairman of the jazz studies program at the University of New Orleans when the performance series was established in 1990.

Jamison Ross performs "Vestige" by Kris Tokarski at Jazz at the Sandbar at the University of New Orleans on Wednesday, Oct. 10, 2012

Jamison Ross performs “Vestige” by Kris Tokarski at Jazz at the Sandbar at the University of New Orleans on Wednesday, Oct. 10, 2012

The second show of the series, on Oct. 10, shifted its vision to the future, featuring compositions by student musicians in the combo directed by assistant professor Brian Seeger, who has been teaching since 2007 at UNO, from which he holds a master’s degree in jazz performance.

“They put in a lot of work to get a lot of original material together in a short amount of time,” Seeger said. The combo’s next performance at Jazz at the Sandbar will be Oct. 31, when pianist Joanne Brackeen will be the guest artist.

First up was “Comrade Trampas” by pianist Kris Tokarski, who named the composition after a former classmate. Tokarski also wrote “Bud’s Lament,” a ballad inspired by Bud Powell, and “Vestige.”

An untitled piece by guitarist Stephen Powers was second in the program, followed by “Bud’s Lament” and the combo’s arrangement of “Have You Met Miss Jones?’ by Richard Rodgers.

The first set finished out with a tune by saxophonist James Partridge, and “Third Line” by bassist Sam Albright.

The second set began with a demonstration of the skills of the evening’s celebrity, Jamison Ross, who took first place Sept. 23 in the 25th annual Thelonious Monk International Jazz Competition at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., winning over a panel of judges who represent excellence in his field: Jimmy Cobb, Ben Riley, Peter Erskine, Carl Allen, Terri Lyne Carrington and Brian Blade. His award came with $25,000 in music-scholarship funds and a recording contract with the Concord Music Group.

James Partridge, Gregory Agid and Derek Douget perform "Vestige" by Kris Tokarski at Jazz at the Sandbar at the University of New Orleans on Wednesday, Oct. 10, 2012

James Partridge, Gregory Agid and Derek Douget perform “Vestige” by Kris Tokarski at Jazz at the Sandbar at the University of New Orleans on Wednesday, Oct. 10, 2012

Ross’ arrangement of Monk’s “Rhythm-a-Ning” showcased the musicality of his playing delightfully. Afterward, guest artist Derek Douget, who plays saxophone with the New Orleans Jazz Orchestra and has two UNO music degrees, joined the student band for “Vestige” and for two of his own compositions, “Scrambler” and “Finally,” which he said got its name because he had trouble finishing it.

The second set ended with “Heading In” by Partridge and the band’s arrangement of “Tom Thumb” by Wayne Shorter.

All Jazz at the Sandbar performances this fall are on Wednesdays at 7 p.m. The schedule of guest artists is:

In addition, here are some performances coming up by musicians who played Oct. 10.

  • Derek Douget performs Wednesdays, Oct. 17, 24, and 31, with the NOJO Jazz Jam at the Royal Sonesta
  • Derek Douget performs Thursday, Oct. 18, with Mas Mamones at the New Orleans Botanical Gardens, and with Jonathan Lefcoski at Snug Harbor.
  • Derek Douget performs Friday, Oct. 19, with Herlin Riley at Snug Harbor.
  • James Partridge will perform Thursday, Oct. 25, with The Session, featuring Darrian Douglas, Jasen Weaver, Steve Lands and Andrew McGowan, at The Maison from 7 to 10 p.m. This month, The Session recorded its first album, “This is Who We Are.”

“Jazz at the Sandbar” is presented by the UNO Jazz Studies Program with support from the UNO Student Government Association, WWNO Public Radio, Nate & Priscilla Gordon, The New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Foundation, the UNO International Alumni Association and the New Orleans Jazz Celebration.

All proceeds go to the George Brumat Memorial Scholarship Fund. For more information, call the UNO Music Department at 504.280.6039.

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