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North Texas State College 1956



 
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kehaulani
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 09, 2023 2:35 pm    Post subject: North Texas State College 1956 Reply with quote

North Texas State College 1956. Damn!. Both Texas and Berklee were the only schools in the world at that time with a degree in Jazz (actually, North Texas' degree was called "Dance Band" because Jazz was a dirty word). And only North Texas was accredited.

I used to read about these guys in downbeat. America had a big gun Jazz competition every year at Notre Dame. Texas won so many first places that festival organizers refused to allow Texas to compete further.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SZ4iVHmmV6s&list=PL_JHuZ5LFn1KEvQ_qbp_ZHub_HoK4yqSU
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R. Dale Olson
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 10, 2023 2:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The post by Kehaulani referencing the 1956 North Texas Lab Band, is certainly appreciated. He even directed readers to a recording of the band in concert with Jimmy Giuffre. I was on that band, and the recording, 67 years ago. Two of the other trumpets were "Mickey" (i.e. Fisher) Tull, and "Kansas" Jimmy Maxwell.). Mick was my closest friend until his early death in 1994. Jim also passed rather young.

Relative to the post, the term "jazz" was frowned upon in the State of Texas, so the term "Stage Band", was used. Eventually, that merged into a more academic, scholarly word, "Lab" band. The unofficial "dance" band in Denton at that time was "Fess Graham and the Aces of Collegeland", another band in which Mick and I played. It was run by a member of the North Texas faculty, Professor Floyd Graham.

A good friend, Ishkander Akhmadullin, Professor of Trumpet at University of Missouri, recently observed that I may be the 'oldest" surviving member of the early Lab Bands, and the trumpet studio recognized as "The Haynie Clique". Not possessing evidence to the contrary, Ishkander is probably correct.

About one year ago, I gave, to Bob Morgan in Houston, a briefcase full of memoribiilia of those early days at North Texas, for safekeeping. I think Bob has since passed all of it to the UNT Music Library, along with the probably only surviving recording of the Giuffre concert, now available for all to hear on the Internet.

Thank you, Kehaulani, for caring.

R. Dale Olson
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kehaulani
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 10, 2023 2:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

That recording and reading you guys in downbeat is what lured this little Hawaiian kid from the middle of the Pacific to the middle of Texas in 1963. Great bunch of guys and great jazz program and it set me well for my future.

Talk about a culture shock, though. That I didn't survive. Those of my generation owe you and the early "pioneers" much respect and gratitude. Thank you for the memory.
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cjl
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 10, 2023 4:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

R. Dale Olson wrote:
Two of the other trumpets were "Mickey" (i.e. Fisher) Tull, and "Kansas" Jimmy Maxwell.). Mick was my closest friend until his early death in 1994. Jim also passed rather young.

Just curious. I knew a trumpet player when I was in Dallas in the 80's named Jack Stone who said that Fisher Tull was his roommate at NTSU. (Jack died a number of years ago). Wondered if you knew him?
-- Joe
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R. Dale Olson
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 11, 2023 4:40 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Joe:

You inquired about Jack Stone at North Texas in the '50s, and the response is "yes", I knew Jack very well. For one year, Jack and I had adjoining apartments in a "garage apartment" one block from the School of Music, and often practiced together.

For others, Jack did not pursue trumpet playing professionally after North Texas, but entered the field of education management, at one time serving as President of the Galveston City College.

Jack was an excellent player, but not of a specific genre. He could tongue faster than anyone I have ever heard. He had range, sight reading ability, etc. etc.

He was from Fort Worth, only 30 miles from Denton. He and I remained in contact for several years post my graduation (B.M., 1956, MM 1957). He died many years ago, and now takes his place in the long line of North Texas trumpet players who never received full credit for his abilities.

R. Dale Olson

R. Dale Olson
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cjl
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 11, 2023 5:30 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for the information!

When I knew Jack he was a vice chancellor (I believe) of the Dallas county community college system.

Sometime in the 80's -- I can't remember exactly when -- Jack started a brass group. It was made up mostly of people who worked in the area around Richland community college; many were from Texas Instruments. To accommodate everyone's schedule, we practiced at 7 - 8:30 am on a Tuesday morning. Jack dubbed us the "Early Brass." Jack was the conductor. I never heard him play but some of the others there told me about what a good player he was.

I was young, at my first big job, and still thinking of continuing to play my trumpet as I had throughout college in Tennessee. Jack's Early Brass was such a great opportunity and experience. I was extremely impressed by how much respect Jack was afforded by all. We would sometimes play morning concerts at the colleges and the school would provide a great, free breakfast to encourage the students to stop and give us a listen.

There was an older fellow who joined the group later whose name I cannot recall who was an excellent arranger. He began providing us with arrangements tailored specifically to our instrumentation and sometimes to specific players. That was a great asset!

(Edit - I just remembered the arranger’s name - Don Joseph. Dr. Don Verne Joseph, “a nationally known composer, musician, clinician and adjudicator in the field of music education” according to his obituary. He died in 2008.)

Playing with the Early Brass and with First Baptist Dallas kept me going during those years when I probably should have quit playing -- and I'm still going today.

I find myself thinking of Jack and the group every now and then - like when I just happened to see Jack's Mt Vernon Bach auctioned on ebay years ago and just recently, when I came across a cassette tape of our group that I had set aside.

-- Joe


Last edited by cjl on Mon Sep 11, 2023 6:58 pm; edited 1 time in total
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RandyTX
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 11, 2023 2:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

R. Dale Olson wrote:
Relative to the post, the term "jazz" was frowned upon in the State of Texas, so the term "Stage Band", was used. Eventually, that merged into a more academic, scholarly word, "Lab" band.


A very interesting thread for a number of reasons, but this little bit sort of jumped out at me.

I went to a high school in the D/FW metroplex area, not far from Denton, and while growing up I went up to see the lab band concerts fairly often. At that time, they'd do them in sort of reverse order, wth the one o'clock performing last, but all of them extremely good and enjoyable to listen to.

There was a time when I thought I'd go to NTSU until my folks insisted on me taking a different route with college, which I'm still paying for in the practice room some 40 yeaars later.

In the interim, North Texas has been renamed again, to UNT, but it's rep in the state and elsewhere is still right up there, obviously.

Anyway, the bit about the 'stage band' naming thing was something I never knew the reasoning for, I suppose until I read this thread today.

I played in the 'stage band' in high school, and never really thought it odd it was called that, until later on, when I'd talk with other players, probably mostly those that didn't grow up in Texas, and they would either look at me funny, or actually ask me about it, as they expected it to be called "Jazz band" more often than anything else, and I'd have to explain that was essentially what it was, a fairly 'standard' big band, 13 horns and rhythm section.

I just thought it was my band director's decision to call it that, perhaps because I never heard anyone objecting to the word 'jazz' (at least in the late 70's, early 80's, in the Dallas area. But, the director probably came up at a time when it was objectionable, at least to some.

I had a private lesson teacher all through high school that was a North Texas guy, studied under Haynie, and is mentioned a couple of times in a book about I got a few years back about John Haynie's life and teaching studio. The impact that university has had on music in the state of Texas probably can't be overstated.
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kehaulani
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 11, 2023 4:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Little known fact that, as good and forward-leaning as it was - and bringing acclaim and attention to the school itself - is that the Jazz Program was self-sustaining, at least through the Leon Breeden era. If they couldn't pay for themselves, they would be cut. The Dean and a lot of the "Legits" hated the Jazz Program.
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