Illinois Central Jazz Train 11.20.16


by John Cheek

The featured group for November was the Illinois Central Jazz Train under the direction of Larry Harms. The Jazz Train played both sets in November, but the CIJS House Band was not entirely absent as House Band regulars Jeremy Clark on drums, Jon Byler-Dann on bass, and Matt Buzcko on trumpet are featured members of Jazz Train. The night kicked of with Sammy Nestico's Fun Time, a medium swing featuring a great bari sax solo by Jeff Arbisi. The band moved on to Jobim's Wave, arranged by guitarist Justin Haynes and featuring lead trombonist Harlan Geiser. Up next was Fletcher Henderson's Wrappin' It Up, a 1930's hit for the Ellington band, which really showed the versatility of the Jazz Train. The first ballad of the night was a new arrangement of When You Wish Upon A Star, performed as a soaring duet by trumpeters John Cheek and Myles Singleton. Larry Harms gave us a burning fast clarinet feature on fast that the band had to hustle to keep up with Larry!

Tenor saxophonist Tyler Dringenberg was featured on Soundsketch by Bob Florence, a ballad that also showcased the entire band on a double-time shout chorus. Nasty Blues gave us a fast swinging blues with great solos, including a closer on alto by John Offut.  The band closed the first set with Hank Levy's Whiplash, the title track from the recent award-winning film with a tricky 7/4 time signature, counter melodies, and some crazy trumpet solos mixed in the middle. The second set kicked off with another Nestico tune, this time No Time Like The Present, followed by trumpeter Tom Fatten's great arrangement of Route 66. In A Brazilian Bone Tone featured the entire trombone section, namely Harlan Geiser, Charlie Vetter, Darren Seymour, and Jason Shea.

Another Tom Fatten arrangement was up next, the beautiful Gentle As A Grandaughter's Smile, featuring Morgan Turner on alto sax and Matt Buzcko on trumpet. The band moved on to a blues shuffle called Blue Brews before hitting us with Louis Bellson's Skin Deep, which closed with the band leaving stage for several minutes while drummer Jeremy Clark showed his stuff on a great drum solo. A little funk was on the menu next as the band took on an original by guitarist Justin Haynes called Marvin Gets Meaner, with excellent solos by pianist Bruce Lane, tenor saxophonist 'Mo' Washburn, and Justin himself. Jazz Train closed the night with another Fletcher Henderson tune for the Ellington band, Hotter Than 'Ell, again showing the band's ability to play all styles ranging from early jazz to swinging blues to modern funk.


♪ Stephanie Aaron will perform as the Guest Group for the Jazz Society’s January 22 concert. Stephanie Aaron is a Peoria native who, for the last several years, has been living in Chicago where she sings steady gigs at clubs and hotels. She is very pleased to be playing for the Jazz Society once again with Larry Harms on sax, Cory Flanigan on drums, Andy Crawford on bass, and Derel Monteith on keyboards. Stephanie Aaron will begin her set at 7:15 p.m. The Central Illinois Jazz Society House Band, led by Larry Harms, will open the night with the first set at 6:00 p.m. We thank Sharon and John Amdall for being Program Sponsors for the January Concert. We are very happy to welcome Stephanie back with the Jazz Society.

♪ We thank the Illinois Central Jazz Train, directed by Larry Harms, for performing during both sets of the Jazz Society’s November concert. Larry and the Jazz Train always present an outstanding array of tunes and styles – from classic big band to contemporary arrangements with a new and interesting twist. They drew a big crowd to enjoy this unique big band group. We thank Bill and Joan Flowers for being Program Sponsors for the November Concert. Please contact any board member if you would like to Sponsor a future concert. Program Sponsors help sustain the Jazz Society through their additional financial support of our monthly programs. 

♪ Many thanks to Bill Duncan for organizing the Jazz Gala Benefit for David Hoffman and his wife Julia on Nov. 6. Thanks to the many musicians, who donated their music for the Benefit, thanks to those who attended and everyone who helped with the event. We also thank the Trailside Event Center for providing their wonderful facility and Hearth for providing fine food for this display of fabulous music and fellowship.

♪ We thank Maureen O’Haenny for serving as our MC for the November concert. We also thank Jake Jacobsen, Sally Jacobsen, Tom Harkless, Andy Bussan, Beth Bussan, Ellen Monteith and Bob Cannon for helping with the concert. Thanks to Cedar Hils Sound for providing outstanding sound for all of our monthly programs