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Jazz Ensemble I again receives prestigious Down Beat magazine honors

RELEASED: April 27, 2010

UW-Eau Claire Jazz Ensemble I
UW-Eau Claire Jazz Ensemble I

EAU CLAIRE — The premier jazz publication in the United States has again honored the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire's Jazz Ensemble I as one of the best collegiate jazz ensembles in the country.

Jazz Ensemble I received the Down Beat Award for Best College Jazz Ensemble for its new CD, "Jazz in Clearwater — Soul Searching," which will be released April 29.

The Down Beat Awards are considered the educational Grammys, said Robert Baca, director of jazz studies at UW-Eau Claire. It is the highest possible award a college jazz program can receive to be recognized for achievement, he said of the honor.

"I'm absolutely jumping out of my skin with excitement, and reflecting on the great culture and environment we have in Eau Claire that makes achieving this goal possible," Baca said after learning of the latest honor. "Utilizing the support of the arts in our middle schools, high schools and our dynamite classically oriented college music school, combined with the drive and work ethic of Upper Midwest kids, make our ensembles sound the way they do. This is a wonderful national honor for our school and community."

This is the sixth time Jazz Ensemble I has won this prestigious national award.

Other colleges and universities winning the award in past years have been significantly larger institutions than UW-Eau Claire, with many of them having full-time jazz faculty members, graduate programs in jazz and/or undergraduate degrees in jazz studies, Baca said.

UW-Eau Claire's Jazz Ensemble I will perform at 7:30 p.m. April 29 in Gantner Concert Hall of the Haas Fine Arts Center at UW-Eau Claire (see related news release). Thursday's concert will serve as a CD release party for the ensemble's latest album, "Jazz in Clear Water — Soul Searching." The new CD will feature internationally recognized trombonist Jiggs Whigham and Jazz I

"The concert will include several student compositions," Baca said. "Also, many of the selections performed at the CD release concert will be used for recording the ensemble's next CD. We're hoping for a big crowd to join us for what will be a great concert."

Down Beat magazine is a national publication for student, amateur, and professional musicians and educators seriously involved in various types of contemporary music, including jazz, rock, blues and electronics.

The issue of Down Beat magazine announcing UW-Eau Claire's new award came out today (April 27).

For more information about the latest Down Beat Award or UW-Eau Claire's jazz program, contact Robert Baca at 715-836-4371 or bacarj@uwec.edu.

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JB/DW

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