December 3, 2009

Sound of the Big Band Comes to SSU as Jazz Orchestra is Launched

trumpet.jpgThe sound of jazz Big Band music will fill Warren Auditorium starting at 7:30 p.m. on Sunday, Dec. 13, with the debut of SSU's Jazz Orchestra under the leadership of Doug Leibinger, recently appointed Director of Jazz Studies.

While the 18-piece SSU group presently maintains the standard Big Band instrumentation (four trumpets, four trombones, five saxes and rhythm section), they are learning playing styles across the gamut - from Dave Brubeck's "The Duke" to Count Basie's "Scott's Place;" "Almost Like Being In Love" popularized by Natalie Cole to the New Orleans "second line" beat of Alan Baylock's "Hulabaloo" and Bob Mintzer's "March Majestic." A noted composer, arranger and trombone soloist, Leibinger is adding to the mix his "Vaca Frita" and his arrangement of the Miles Davis classic, "So What."

"The name, jazz orchestra," Leibinger says, "lends an air of formality to the music. The leading jazz orchestra composers are writing music as serious works of art, to distinguish it from the dance floor tradition."

Reflecting the trend toward a more sophisticated sound, the Jazz Orchestra saxophone section has morphed into a woodwind mini-orchestra, with sax players also doubling on flute, alto flute, oboe, clarinet and bass clarinet.

A Chicago native, Leibinger holds three degrees in jazz performance from the University of Miami - recently ranked by U.S. News and World Report as the second top jazz school in the nation.

During his graduate studies there, he directed the studio jazz band for four years and taught almost every class in the curriculum. Formerly on the faculty of the University of Missouri-Columbia, Leibinger was a trombone soloist on the UM Concert Jazz Band's recording of Maria Schneider's Three Romances," which was nominated for a Grammy award in 2004.

Ticket prices are $12 general; $10 SSU faculty, alumni and staff; $8 seniors and students. To purchase tickets contact the School of Performing Arts (SPA) Box Office at (707) 664-2353. For more information about SPA performances or to buy tickets online, visit

Jean Wasp
Media Relations Coordinator
University Affairs
(707) 664-2057