Wednesday, September 29, 2010

SMU Jazz Ensemble releases first CD ‘Staycation’ Friday

WINONA, Minn. — The Saint Mary’s University Jazz Ensemble, under the direction of Dr. John Paulson, will release its first CD, “Staycation” at the Family Weekend Jazz Concert Friday, Oct. 1. The performance is set for 6 p.m. in Figliulo Recital Hall, located in the SMU Performance Center.

The project has been a joint effort by SMU students and faculty. Participants included members of the SMU Jazz Ensemble and students majoring in music technology, under the supervision of Dr. Paulson and adjunct music faculty member and Grammy-winning engineer Brett Huus. Music tech students working on the project included Tim High, Andrew Jambura, Kalinn Bangasser and Andrew Bauer. High and Jambura — overseen by Huus — also did the mastering, in connection with their recording class.

The CD, featuring seven selections, was recorded this past February on campus — during what would have been the student musicians’ winter break. The students chose to stay on campus and record their music rather than go on tour this year — which brought about the CD’s name, “Staycation.”

The entire project was done using the recording facilities in St. Yon’s Hall, which supports the music technology program. Eric Heukeshoven, also from the SMU music faculty, did the graphic design and layout for the CD templates.

The CD, a collection of various styles, includes the vocal talents of professional jazz musician Miles Johnston who also solos on cornet. Johnston performed with the jazz ensemble in the December 2009 concert and can be heard on the recording performing Cole Porter’s “Night and Day” and the great jazz standard by Klemmer and Lewis, “Just Friends,” both arranged by Dave Wolpe for big band and vocals. Other features include “Quintessence” by Quincy Jones, highlighting the talents of alto saxophonist Vanessa Grams ’10, and “Midnight Voyage” by Joey Calerazzo, featuring Winona Senior High tenor saxophonist Ross Nixon. Also included is an arrangement of the “OO7” James Bond theme by Jeremy Johnston ’09, “I Love You” by Cole Porter and a funky new chart, “Out of the Doghouse” by Eric Morales.

The CD will also be available at the campus bookstore in the Toner Student Center. A YouTube segment, which can be found at, captures some of the recording session. For more information, go to or contact Dr. Paulson at (507) 457-1596 or