Making a Joyful Noise Unto The Lord

Brass Americana in Play


Coming up the wide Missouri in a spirit of joy, Saint Louis Brass arrives in Omaha to appear at the Vesper Concert Series in “Renaissance, Jazz, Humor,” the title for their concert. The five players offer, not surprisingly, a version of W.C. Handy’s “St. Louis Blues,” plus plenty of other Americana.   

Amid the array, there’s a quintet by Anthony Plog, inspired by Ogden Nash poems, a pastiche piece by Wayne Scott, a suite by 27-year-old Joshua Hobbs and a medley of Louis Armstrong hits.

Plog’s “Animal Ditties” sets Nash verses about animals, some of which have been paired before with Saint Saëns’ “Carnival of the Animals.” Plog wants to tone-characterize the animals and has each member of the quintet also perform as narrator.

Scott’s “Divertimento for Neglected(?) Musical(?) Instruments(?)”quotes ca 15 tunes including opera arias, songs by George M. Cohan, Irving Berlin, and so much more that you might want to keep score. Scott calls itan irreverent, though (fairly) accurate tour of the history of brass instruments.”

Hobbs wrote “Four Times Five”  three years ago specifically for the Brass, four movements, five players.

BTW, Handy, writing about “St. Louis Blues,” said he wrote it when the tango was in vogue. “I tricked the dancers by arranging a tango introduction, breaking abruptly into a low-down blues. The dancers seemed electrified. Something within them came suddenly to life.”

While we’re on the subject of tango, note the inclusion of Astor Piazzolla’s “Libertango” arranged by Brass trumpet player Allan Dean. More dance: a Saltarello by an unknown 16th Century Italian, a fast-paced piece with a title derived from the Italian word for “to jump”: saltare.  

And there Arizona-born Joey Sellers’ “Tribute to Pops,” a  collection of five recollected  Louis Armstrong hits. 

Sure, this is in a church. Such music celebrates life.

This concert in the Vesper Concert Series is October 22, Presbyterian Church of the Cross, 1517 South 114th St. Sun. 3 p.m. Free.  http://vesperconcerts.org/


Category: Music

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