Jazz Ambassadors Tour 2017 - North and South Dakota
Oct. 28, 2017, 8:50 p.m.
After my run and a three hour bus ride we arrived in Bismark, North Dakota in the late afternoon. Along the way we jumped into the central time zone which signals that the JAs are one step closer to home.
The scenery from the highway is amazingly similar and all the highways out here in the northern states are open and clear. From the tall coach bus our visibility is several miles in all directions.
Six of the musicians who were not on the evening show left the hotel just after a bright yet cloudy sunrise to conduct a clinic with the North Dakota All State Jazz Band at the University of Mary. We worked through style concepts on Neal Hefti’s arrangement of Splanky before breaking off to work with each section individually.
Sometimes the students don’t know what questions to ask and the biggest challenge from our perspective is to decide where to focus our attention given the short time frame. The band made some improvements with their approach to the Count Basie style and 90 minutes later we were back at the hotel. Less than an hour later we departed for another three hour ride to Fargo, SD.
Tonight the band will perform in the North Dakota State University Festival Concert Hall. Each February the Challey School of Music hosts a high school jazz festival that features special guest artists who perform with the NDSU Jazz Ensemble and provide clinics for participating ensembles.
Our last full show in South Dakota takes place at South Dakota State University in the School of Performing Arts Lincoln Memorial Concert Hall. Due to the location of the performance the U.S. Army Field Band Operations Team decided to make this performance enroute to the next hotel and at an earlier matinee time. After leaving Fargo in the morning we travel directly to the venue and play the show before arriving in Sioux Falls, SD.
The Jazz Ambassadors have four complete rotating shows worked up for this tour. The only overlap occurs with our patriotic, opening, and encore charts. This performance was the eighth show of the 2017 Fall Tour and marked the second run through of Show Four. In each set the repertoire covers a wide range of styles and eras from jazz history. More to come on the featured tunes we perform.