Faculty Jazz Combo

The Clemson University Faculty Jazz Combo will perform at the Notre Dame and Georgia Tech home football games this fall. (Top: Hazen Bannister, Ian Bracchitta, Monty Craig. Bottom: Timothy Hurlburt, Evan Jacobi, Mark Spede.)

CLEMSON — The half-time shows during the football games with Notre Dame this Saturday and with Georgia Tech on Oct. 10,  will feature a talented group of musicians performing with Tiger Band: the Clemson University Faculty Jazz Quintet (plus one).

The show features two “jazz fusion” (a style combining jazz and rock) tunes and a modern re-take on an old Benny Goodman/Gene Krupa jazz classic.

The opener is called “Birdland,” which may be the most famous fusion song ever. First recorded in 1977 by the group Weather Report, it’s been covered many times by big bands such as Buddy Rich and Maynard Ferguson, and vocal artists like Manhattan Transfer and Ella Fitzgerald.

The middle song of the show is Chuck Mangione’s “Land of Make Believe,” which fuses a Brazilian samba style with jazz. Many remember Mangione’s unusual brass instrument, the flugelhorn, and his pop chart hit “Feels so Good” (also from 1977).

The half-time show comes to a rousing conclusion with drums at the forefront. In 1937, Benny Goodman recorded a tune called “Sing, Sing, Sing” that featured a young Gene Krupa on the drums and became a megahit during the big band era. This modern re-take is called “Sing, Sang, Sung” and still keeps the flavor of the original.

The members of the faculty jazz group are Hazen Bannister on piano, Ian Bracchitta on bass, Monty Craig on guitar, Evan Jacobi on saxophones and Mark Spede on drums. Guest performer with the quintet is Timothy Hurlburt on trumpet. Hurlburt and Spede should be familiar names to fans, as they are the directors of Tiger Band. Spede wrote the music arrangements to feature the individual talents of the Clemson jazz faculty with the big sound of Tiger Band, and the drill formations are by Hurlburt.

Founded in 2012, the Clemson Faculty Jazz Quintet performs regularly in the Brooks Theater, at Seasons By the Lake restaurant on Thursday evenings and in various locations in Greenville. They recently recorded their first album of original tunes that will be released later in the school year.

Check them out at the next Clemson University Jazz Ensemble performance at 8 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 19.

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