TAHLEQUAH – The latest CD by the NSU Jazz Ensemble, "Appointment in Milano," was recently selected as one of the ten best CDs by a university jazz group by a leading jazz education magazine.
"Jazz Education Journal," a monthly publication of the International Association for Jazz Education, released the 12th Annual Blue Chip Awards, honoring the top CDs of 2006, in the April 2007 issue. "Appointment in Milano" was selected as a Blue Chip award winner by internationally renowned jazz educator/activist Dr. Herb Wong from hundreds of CDs nationwide.
The Blue Chip Awards were created by Wong for JEJ to honor the outstanding recordings of college jazz programs, in addition to selecting top CDs from the professional jazz world.
"To be honored by one of the most respected educators in jazz in this manner is amazing," said Arthur White, NSU director of Jazz Studies and producer of "Milano." "Looking at the list and seeing some of the other schools who won, this is a remarkable achievement for our students and our program."
Other CDs selected as the best in 2006 include stalwarts of jazz education, including the University of North Texas One O┬ÆClock Lab Band, Manhattan School of Music Jazz Orchestra, and DePaul University Jazz Ensemble I.
"This award validates what we have said for years: that NSU has one of the best jazz programs in the country," said Dr. Paul Westbrook, dean of the College of Liberal Arts.
The album features the NSU Jazz Ensemble I, the flagship ensemble of the NSU Jazz Studies Program. Recorded in May 2006, it contains original compositions and arrangements by White and NSU Jazz Studies students Bradley Spears, Tracy Patterson, Aaron Hollon, and Cory Martin. The album is augmented with the special appearance of Grammy-nominated saxophonist Bobby Watson. The record has received outstanding reviews from local and national sources, including AllAboutJazz.com, the world's largest online jazz web site.
"This CD is only the beginning of many good things to come from NSU Jazz. I have heard the band grow tremendously in just the one year of my association with the band under Arthur's leadership," said Watson. "Arthur inspires creativity and personal expression from his students, which are the hallmarks of jazz and jazz education, and is evidenced by the wonderful student arrangements included on this CD as well as Arthur's splendid arrangements of my compositions."
The Jazz Studies program recently wrapped the successful Green Country Jazz Series and is preparing new material to record a third album from the NSU Jazz Ensemble. The band will record with internationally acclaimed guitarist Henry Johnson in May.
"The most exciting part of this award is that the students earned it," said White. "They were the performers and writers on this record. I couldn't be more thrilled for them."
"Appointment in Milano" is available at the NSU Jazz Lab. All proceeds from the sale of the record will support NSU Jazz Studies. For more information on the album, contact Arthur White at 918-444-4602.