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Audio Clips and CDs  

UW-Eau Claire Jazz Ensembles
receive the prestigious
Down Beat Award for Best College Big Band
and Grammy Award nominations.


The University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire Jazz Ensemble I is recognized as one of the premiere jazz ensembles in the United States. The ensemble has toured throughout Europe and the Pacific Rim. In 1991 they performed in China, being recognized as the first jazz ensemble to tour this country since its opening to the western world. The ensemble records a CD each year, all of which have come under critical acclaim. The Jazz Studies Area has received the Down Beat Magazine "Best College Big Band" Award six times!

The critically acclaimed UW-Eau Claire Jazz Ensemble CDs are reviewed by professional jazz musicians and leading national jazz educators.  See reviews below along with a song list for each CD.  Click on highlighted song titles to hear a sample.


    Cd Cover, Jazz in Clearwater - Soul Searching

1. Laura featuring Jiggs Whigham, 
      trombone
2. Yes or No
3. Cerulean Skies
4. Sumo
5. John Coltrane Suite: Looking Back
6. Soul Searching
7. Concerto to End All Concertos 

Jazz Ensemble I Personnel
Alto Saxophone: Jim Geddes, Corey 
  Cunningham
Tenor Saxophone: Evan Benidt,
  Aaron Hedenstrom
Bari Sax: Brian Handeland
Trumpet: Chris Bresette, Tom 
  Krochock, John Raymond, 
  Josh Pauly, Josh Nims
Trombone: Kyle Siegrist,
  Rachel Carter, Matt Hiel, 
  Justin Verhasselt
Guitar: Michael Wolter
Piano: Brandon Covelli
Bass: Andrew Detra
Drums: Kyle Good, Brian Claxton

Jazz in Clear Water -
"Soul Searching"


Featuring the 2010 Downbeat Award-Winning UW-Eau Claire Jazz Ensemble I
and guest artist Jiggs Whigham.

"VERSATILE (defined as: multifaceted, many-sided) is a word that keeps coming to mind as I continue to listen to this fine music, recorded by the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire jazz ensemble.  Bob Baca and this exceptional group of young musicians take on such diverse and challenging material, from Mike Brecker's "Sumo" and Wayne Shorter's "Yes and No," to David Raksins masterpiece "Laura" and Stan Kenton's "Concerto to End All Concertos." As though this established material wasn't enough, the band captures the beauty and depth of Maria Schneider's superb "Cerulean Skies," as well as a movement from Michael Mossman's "John Coltrane Suite," all topped off by a wonderful student composition: Aaron Hedenstrom's "Soul Searching."

WOW! All this material is a tall order for any band--and this one does itself proud by presenting this very difficult program with great style and character.

Jiggs Whigham
Internationally acclaimed trombonist, band leader and educator


    Cd Cover, Jazz in Clearwater - Bulería, Soleá, y Rumba

1. Go'n An' Git It Y'all
2. E-Ticket
3. Pas De Deux
4. Take It All
5. Red Beans and Ricely Yours
6. Bulería, Soleá, y Rumba
7. Magic Flea

Jazz Ensemble I Personnel
Alto Sax: Evan Benidt, Steve Hobert
Tenor Sax: Ben Herpel-Dobay, Steve 
    Hobert
Bari Sax: Jim Geddes
Trumpet: Tom Krochock, Ryan Nelson, 
    John Raymond, John DeHaven
Trombone: Joe Harson, Colin Gilliland, 
    Randy Pingrey, Matt Cain, James 
    Yardley
Piano: Scott Currier, Adam Braatz
Guitar: Eric Plotts
Bass: Kevin Rowe, Jeremy Boettcher
Drums: David Whitman

Jazz in Clear Water -
"Bulería, Soleá, y Rumba"


"What amazing playing on this recording! I can hardly believe what they did with all this very difficult and diverse music. I'd been shocked when they first told me they wanted to play Bulería, Soleá, y Rumba (it's the most difficult piece I've ever written), but I was even more shocked when I heard how well they played it! These are indeed very dedicated, passionate and impressive young musicians. Great recording!"

--Maria Schneider
(Grammy Award Winning Composer)


    Jazz CD, Jazz in Clear Water - Christmas Day, My Favorite Day

  1. Good King Wenceslas
  2. 'Twas the Night Before Christmas
  3. It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year
  4. Let It Snow
  5. Winter Wonderland
    featuring Five by Design
  6. You're a Mean One
    Mr. Grinch
  7. Mistletoe Mambo
  8. A Coventry Carol
  9. Jingle Bells
  10. Silent Night
  11. Christmas Day, My Favorite Day featuring Michael Andrew


Jazz Ensemble I Personnel
Alto Sax: Jim Geddes, Evan Benidt,
  Aaron Hedenstrom, Brian 
  Handeland
Tenor Sax: Ben Herpel-Dobay, Corey 
  Cunningham, Jim Kellerman
Bari Sax: Jim Geddes, Theresa 
  Soules
Trumpet: Paul Stodolka, Tom  
  Krochock, John Raymond, Keith 
  Karns, Josh Nims, John Dehaven
Trombone: Matt Caine, Colin Gilliland,
  Randy Pingrey, Brad March, Josh 
  Becker
Guitar: Corey Cunningham
Piano: Scott Currier, Adam Braatz
Bass: Jeremy Boettcher, Kevin 
  Rowe, Brian Plank
Drums: Sean Carey, Kyle Good

Jazz in Clear Water -
"Christmas Day, My Favorite Day"

 
"To help celebrate the Christmas season, the UW-Eau Claire Jazz Studies family, made up of current students and alumni, collaborated on this collection of songs to celebrate the season. Joining Jazz Ensemble I to create this CD were composer Jamey Simmons (BM '94, BME '99), composer Kyle Newmaster (BME '99), vocalist Michael Andrew (BA '87), Five by Design vocal quintet, and LA recording saxophonist Sal Lozano. (Link to a news article about the CD.)

We hope our musical contribution puts you in a festive spirit and may the wonder of the season fill you with peace, love and joy."

--Robert Baca
Director of Jazz Studies
University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire


    CD Cover, Jazz in Clear Water - Lockbox

1. Hunting Wabbits
2. Bach 2 Part Invention
3. Lockbox
4. 'Round Midnight
5. The Razor's Edge
6. Riverscape
7. Cottontail
8.  Kiji Takes a Ride

Jazz Ensemble I Personnel
Alto Sax: Evan Benidt, Kevin Bailey
Tenor Sax: Matt McVeigh, Ben Herpel-
    Dobay, Matt Rongstad
Bari Sax: Stacy Kern, Jim Geddes
Trumpet: Dan Urness, Tom 
  Krochock, Ryan Nelson, Dylan 
  Kruziki, Andrew Neesley
Trombone: Keith Hilson, Joe Hartson, 
    Sean Solberg, James Yardley
Guitar: Eric Plotts
Piano: Scott Currier
Bass: Jeremy Boettcher, Kevin Rowe
Drums: David Whitman, Matt Edlund

Jazz in Clear Water -
"Lockbox"

 
"Well, Bob Baca and the UWEC Jazz Ensemble I have done it again. Another terrific CD produced right here in the heartland featuring an innovative program, tight ensemble work, and wonderful soloists. The consistent high quality of this program is an inspiration to all of us."

--Dean Sorenson
Director of Jazz Studies
University of Minnesota


   Jazz CD, Salute to the Big Bands

  1. In the Still of the Night
  2. The Song Is You
  3. All the Way
  4. Quincy's Tune (Jessica's Day)
  5. Daybreak Express
  6. Night in Tunisia
  7. Shiny Stockings
  8. Rhapsody in Blue
    featuring Penelope Cecchini, piano
    UW-Eau Claire Strings
    French Horn Section
  9. Prelude, Fugue and Riffs
  10. The 8th Veil
  11. Travelin' Light
  12. Wrappin' It Up
  13. Isfahan
  14. Things to Come

"A Salute to the Big Bands"

 
"Northwest Wisconsin seems an unlikely environment for the training of jazz virtuosos, doesn't it? Names like "Beale Street" or "the French Quarter" don't quite sping to mind--and are very hard to locate on the Greater Eau Claire City Map. Images of "the Iditarod" or "wind chill" seem more in keeping. Ahmad Jamal and Charlie Mingus may have played Eau Claire--they did--but they certainly didn't attend school here.

We hope you enjoy this collection of Big Band swing standards. They're classics in the literature of Big Band jazz, played by some of America's most gifted young musicians--they're comers! On this CD you'll find selections chosen from nine previous UW-Eau Claire Jazz Band I recordings. We invite you to sit back, relax, and enjoy--"A Salute to the Big Bands."

--Dr. Wil Denson
Professor Emeritus, Music & Theatre Arts
University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire


    Jazz CD, Jazz in Clear Water - Vernal Fields

2002 Down Beat Award

  1. Deed I Do
  2. Sing Sing Sing
  3. Gentle Fall
  4. Inner Urge
  5. A Night for a Thousand Eyes
  6. Drum Squad
  7. Vernal Fields
  8. Jovian Comets
  9. That One and Only Love
  10. Cotton Tail


Jazz Ensemble I Personnel
Alto Sax: Bill Olson, Jason Breen, 
    David Strong
Tenor Sax: John Timmers, Mike 
    Roach, Erk Christianson
Bari Sax: Jarrett Cooper
Trumpet: Jeff Walk, Dylan Kruziki, 
    Aric Brian, Andrew Neesley, Sean 
    Hanson, Kevin Carlton
Trombone: Keith Hilson, Tom 
    Johnstone, Adam Fekete, Jeff 
    Dahlseng, Matt Hall
Guitar: Vincent Rose
Piano: Jesse Stacken
Bass: Graydon Peterson
Drums: Adrian Suarez, Anthony Florez

Jazz in Clear Water -
"Vernal Fields"


"The spirit and enthusiasm of the band was evident, and they not only gave a great performance, they had fun doing it! I certainly had a ball, and look forward to any opportunity to play with this band!"

--Lewis Nash
New York Freelance Jazz Drummer

"Throughout the "Vernal Fields" CD I was very impressed with the rich and skillful "woofer" sounds produced by Jeff Dahlseng (bass trombone), Graydon Peterson (bass), and Jarret Cooper (baritone saxophone). The tight ensemble work and the dynamics by all three sections constantly amaze me. The rhythm section, led by drummer Adrian Suarez, was also exceptional. If you ever get a chance to hear the UW-Eau Claire Jazz Ensemble I, one of the premier university jazz bands in the U.S., don't miss it. It just might be one of the best big bands you'll ever hear."

--Jerry Swanberg
Host of "Big Band Scene" on KBEM/Jazz 88 - Minneapolis
Vice President - Twin Cities Jazz Society


    Jazz CD cover, Jazz in Clear Water - Things to Come

2001 Down Beat Award
Grammy Award Nomination

  1. We Be Jammin'
  2. Quincy's Tune (Jessica's Day)
  3. It Could Happen to You
  4. Riverscape
  5. Whisper Not
  6. Dynamic Duo
  7. Mel
  8. Downtown
  9. West Indian Dance from Black, Brown & Beige
  10. Things to Come

 

Jazz Ensemble I, II, III, IV, & V Personnel
1999-2000

Jazz in Clear Water -
"Things to Come"


"This CD features all five of the UW-Eau Claire Big Bands...from Jazz V on Fred Sturm's new and exciting "Riverscape" to the blistering tempos of Jazz I on Dizzy Gillespie's "Things to Come." This potpourri of jazz is a fair representation of the current jazz program and the progress of our jazz studies students."

--Ron Keezer
Emeritus Professor of Percussion, UW-Eau Claire


    Jazz CD cover, Jazz in Clear Water - Rhapsody

  1. The Song Is You
  2. All the Way
  3. A Night in Tunisia
  4. The 8th Veil
  5. Misfit Blues
  6. Lickity Split
  7. Spring Can Really Hang You Up the Most
  8. The Open Door
  9. Rhapsody in Blue
    featuring Penelope Cecchini, piano
    UW-Eau Claire Strings
    French Horn Section
  10. Joyous Reunion


Jazz Ensemble I Personnel
Alto Sax: Matt Pivec, Gene Power
Tenor Sax: Bill Olson, Jason Breen,
  Andy Frisinger
Bari Sax: Erik Christianson
Trumpet: Matt Mealy, Josh Lehigh,
  Jeff Walk, Kyle Newmaster,
  Andrew Neesley, Aric Brian,
  Kevin Carlton, Ed Mudrak
Trombone: Keith Hilson, Matt Hall,
  Matt Parrish, Ben Covi
Piano: Nick Poss, Jason Craft, 
  Jesse Stacken
Guitar: Vincent Rose
Bass: Ethan Sobotta, James 
  Buckley
Drums: Matt Kendziera, Jason Price,
  Alan Thompson

Jazz in Clear Water -
"Rhapsody"


"Closing out the ensemble's diversified program [on this CD] is "Joyous Reunion," an Ernie Watts original that brings us back to present day. It is an appropriate barnburner, cutting no corners with a league of five soloists tearing up the changes. One may ask, "How is it possible for an all undergraduate group of students to play on this level?" The answer is a five big band and fifteen combo jazz program with students who have a passion for honoring the music and carrying on a national tradition. One large triumph."

--Ted Allison
Program Director KBEM Radio, Twin Cities

"Exciting band with some outstanding soloists! This is a great jazz program. I wish some of the professional bands I've worked with sounded this good."

--Ed Calle
Freelance Musician, former saxophonist with the Miami Sound Machine


    Jazz CD Cover, Jazz in Clear Water - Timeless Vision

  1. Cottontail
  2. In the Still of the Night
  3. First Born
  4. Le Sucrier Velcurs
  5. All Blues
  6. Recordame
  7. A Timeless Vision
  8. Fanfare, Questions & Answers
  9. Shiny Stockings
  10. A Single Petal of a Rose
  11. Shawnee


Jazz Ensemble I Personnel
Alto Sax: Matt Pivec, Gene Power
Tenor Sax: Clay Pufahl, Erik 
  Christianson
Bari Sax: Bill Olson, Chris Gumz
Trumpet: Matt Mealy, Jamey 
  Simmons, Josh Lehigh, Jeff Walk, 
  Kyle Newmaster, Dave Burke
Trombone: Matt Franko, Matt Hall,
  Ben Covi, Tim Skutely (bass)
Piano: Nick Poss, Jason Craft
Guitar: Ethan Sobotta
Bass: Tim Oas, James Buckley
Drums: Matt Kendziera, Jason Price

Jazz in Clear Water -
"Timeless Vision"


 "The University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire Big Band represents all that is good and great with jazz education in America. The "founding fathers" of the jazz education movement would smile and be proud of the way these young musicians play. The band it top-rate...Bob Baca and his students deserve the highest accolades. I had a ball playing with them, and wish them all the very best in their music careers."

--Peter Erskine
Grammy Award Winning Drummer


    Jazz CD Cover, Jazz in Clear Water - Hoe Down

1998 Down Beat Award

  1. A Night in Tunisia
  2. Well You Needn't
  3. Carmelo's by the Freeway
  4. Alabama (Sketches)
  5. Hoe Down
  6. Surge
  7. Bye Bye Blackbird
  8. Daybreak Express
  9. Blood Count
  10. Cherokee


Jazz Ensemble I Personnel
Alto Sax: Tom Luer, Matt Pivec
Tenor Sax: Clay Pufahl, Ryan Lehman
Bari Sax: Chris Gumz
Trumpet: Matt Mealy, Jamey 
  Simmons, Josh Lehigh, Kyle  
  Newmaster, Dave Burke
Trombone: Eric Songer, Adam 
  Bever, Matt Franko, Tim Roddel
Piano: Jason Craft, Scott Currier
Guitar: Jason Goessl
Bass: Aaron Doty, Tim Oas
Drums: Matt Kendziera, Tony 
  Mazzone

Jazz in Clear Water -
"Hoe Down"

 
"Saxes that spit fire, bones that bite like sharks, trumpets that soar the heavens and a rhythm section that makes you want to dance. Bob Baca has shaped this ensemble into a masterpiece and I thank him and the band for inspiring me."

--Byron Stripling
New York Freelance Trumpet Artist


    Jazz CD Cover, Jazz in Clear Water - Harpoon

Grammy Award Nomination

  1. Three and One
  2. Isfahan
  3. Cubauza
  4. Travelin' Light
  5. Joy Spring
  6. A Song for Barbara
  7. Harpoon
  8. Allison's Tune


Jazz Ensemble I Personnel
Alto Sax: Tom Luer, Jason Gillette, 
  Mary Jo Falkofske
Tenor Sax: Clay Pufahl, Ryan Lehman
Bari Sax: Chris Gumz
Trumpet: Matt Mealy, Tim Hoffman, 
  Josh Lehigh, Kyle Newmaster, Dave 
  Burke, Foster Beyers, Eli Grajkowski
Trombone: Eric Songer, Adam 
  Bever, Matt Franko, Tim Roddel.
  Jeff Ilse
Piano: Jason Craft, Scott Currier
Guitar: Jason Goessl
Bass: Scott Pingel, Aaron Doty
Drums: Matt Kendziera, Tony 
  Mazzone

Jazz in Clear Water -
"Harpoon"

 

"One of the best bands I've had the pleasure of playing with--amateur or pro. They not only play extremely well but they are great guys to work with."

--Carl Fontana, Trombonist
Soloist with Woody Herman's "Third Herd," Stan Kenton, Louis Bellson and Lionel Hampton

"As someone who learned jazz by trial and error through jamming with friends, I have always been suspect of some of the merits of jazz education. After performing with this fine ensemble, it dispelled most of those fears. I felt the solo quality of the players was mature, but was particularly impressed with how musical the ensemble played as a whole."

--Charlie Byrd, Guitarist


    Jazz CD Cover, Jazz in Clear Water - Brilliant Corners

1996 Down Beat Award 

  1. We Be Jammin'
  2. Nardis
  3. La Nina Nueva
  4. 'Round Midnight
  5. Leicester (Lester) Leaps In
  6. Pleasin'
  7. Subconcious Lee
  8. Leilani's Mirror
  9. Brilliant Corners
  10. Tribute to Louie
  11. Oleo  


Jazz Ensemble I Personnel
Alto Sax: Tom Luer, Jason Gillette, 
Tenor Sax: Clay Pufahl, Ryan Lehman
Bari Sax: Chris Gumz
Trumpet: Jeremy Miloszewicz, Matt 
  Mealy, Tim Hoffman, Jamey 
  Simmons, Kyle Newmaster
Trombone: Eric Songer, Adam 
  Bever, Matt Franko, Tim Roddel.
  Jeff Ilse
Piano: Jason Craft, Derek Machan
Guitar: Jason Goessl
Bass: Scott Pingel, Aaron Doty
Drums: Andy Algire, Jamie Andrews, 
  Tony Mazzone

Jazz in Clear Water -
"Brilliant Corners"

 
"I am tremendously impressed with the maturity and musicality (particulary) of the ensemble work on this CD. I could write three or four pages of laudatory analysis of the music on "Brilliant Corners." Let's just leave it at the fact that I am pleased to know that this kind of integrity and artistry still exist in jazz education in this country.

--Bob Freedman
Grammy Award Winning Arranger, Composer, Producer
Producer of Winton Marsalis' "Hot House Flowers" Album, Former Faculty member: Berklee College of Music in Boston"


    Jazz CD Cover, Jazz in Clear Water - In Transit

  1. Body and Soul
  2. What Are You Doing for the Rest of Your Life
  3. Trombonology
  4. Spring Season
  5. Show 'Nuff
  6. In Transit
  7. Sophisticated Lady
  8. Mosaic
  9. Brecker Brac
  10. A Nice One for Boo
  11. Air Mail Special


Jazz Ensemble I Personnel
Alto Sax: Drew Disher, Jason Gillette, 
Tenor Sax: Bill Voltz, Chad Walker
Bari Sax: Chris Campbell
Trumpet: Jeremy Miloszewicz, Dan 
  Julson, Dennis Luginbill, Jamey 
  Simmons, Kyle Newmaster
Trombone: Adam Bever, Chris Fulton, 
  Kevin Loughney, Scott Busse
Piano: Michael Weiser
Guitar: Tom Benz
Bass: Scott Pingel
Drums: Andy Algire, Matt Neesley

Jazz in Clear Water -
"In Transit"

 
"This edition of the band is one of the finest college bands that I have heard in many years. The ensemble has a wonderful, polished sound and its own distinctive personality. It is a highly disciplined unit that swings like mad. The individual sections are outstanding and the soloists are well-schooled, gifted and thoroughly professional. A final thought: Hold on to your hat. All but one of these fine young musicians is an undergraduate!!"

--David Baker
Composer, Performer, Jazz Educator
Director of Jazz Studies, Indiana University


    Jazz CD Cover, Jazz in Clear Water

  1. The Quintessence
  2. Chop Suey
  3. Consummation
  4. Cherokee (Indian Love Song)
  5. Jeeps Blues
  6. Latin Expresso
  7. High Altotude
  8. Zodiac
  9. Songbird
  10. The Trolley Song 


Jazz Ensemble I Personnel
Alto Sax: Kristin Bucholtz, Jason 
  Gillette
Tenor Sax: Drew Disher, Don Pashby, 
  Chad Walker
Bari Sax: Chris Campbell
Trumpet: Jeremy Miloszewicz, Dan 
  Julson, Pat Phalen, Jamey 
  Simmons, Todd Walker
Trombone: Adam Bever, Chris Fulton, 
  Kevin Loughney, Doug Williams, Eric 
  Olson
Piano: Michael Weiser
Guitar: Tom Benz
Bass: Chris Bates, Scott Pingel
Drums: Andy Algire, Bill Wood

"Jazz in Clear Water"

 
"One of the real pleasures I've had in recent years was to be able to work with Bob Baca and the UW-Eau Claire Jazz Ensemble I. How rare it is to find an ensemble where talent is the chief prerequisite and everyone involved has the same attitude about music.

There is an almost unbelievable fire and boost to the band, and much of the answer lies in the sheer quality of the music and the spirit with which it is played. the talent is outstanding and the repertoire carefully selected and expressed honestly."

--Sammy Nestico
Arranger, Composer

Excellence. Our Measure. Our Motto. Our Goal.