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Hood, Hanson release big band album

You’re It!, the latest musical collaboration between Lamont School of Music faculty members Al Hood and Dave Hanson, is a DU project through and through.

The 11-track big-band-jazz CD also features the talents of Lamont instructors Ken Walker (bass) and Tom Ball (trombone); it was funded by a grant from DU’s Divisions of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences; and its musical arrangements were road-tested by a student jazz orchestra, whose members helped pianist and arranger Hanson get the songs tuned up for the December 2010 recording session.

“The way the music got written was very involved with [jazz program director and conductor] Lynn Baker and the Lamont Jazz Ensemble,” says Hanson, who arranged all the songs on the album. “I tried most of the music out with the students, and Lynn was very much a part of that process. I’d bring in a piece, and the students and Lynn would [play through it]. I don’t know if the music could have gotten done in the way that it did without this process I went through with the students. And Lynn has told me that he thinks it was helpful for the students, too. They got to see the mistakes that I made and then see how they got fixed.”

Featuring seven Hanson originals, plus a handful of standards including “Singing in the Rain” and Miles Davis’ “Blue in Green,” You’re It! is brought to life by a 17-piece band that contains a who’s who of the local scene: trumpeter Brad Goode, woodwinds players Rich Chiaraluce and Wil Swindler, and trombonist Nelson Hinds. Hood and Hanson also scored a guest appearance from Bobby Shew, a trumpet legend who has played with such jazz luminaries as Tommy Dorsey, Woody Herman and Horace Silver.

“I’ve never met a trumpet player who didn’t worship the guy,” Hanson says. “So to have him here, to have the grand master here, was extraordinary. And not only that, but he’s a soloist. He has gotten to a place in his career where he doesn’t have to play third trumpet. But he did that for us. He played all the parts.”

Hood, the associate trumpet professor who first collaborated with Hanson on the 2008 album Just A Little Taste: Al Hood Plays the Writing of Dave Hanson, says the logistics of getting 17 extremely busy musicians together for a weekend of rehearsing and recording was quite the task. But the end result — plus a day of mastering at Capitol Records in Hollywood — was worth the effort. You’re It! peaked at No. 10 on the JazzWeek chart of national radio play — above established artists like Pat Metheny and Phil Woods. It also was selected by Denver jazz station KUVO as its “CD of the Month,” and it was No. 2 on influential jazz DJ Bob Parlocha’s list of top 40 new jazz CDs.

“There’s not a weak track or arrangement on there, and people are responding to that,” Hood says. “And there are a lot of featured soloists on the CD; it’s just played well. Denver is blessed with a great scene and a number of great musicians who are ready and willing to jump in to do projects like this.”

To purchase the CD, visit the

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