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Rail Trails - New Jazz From UNLV Students, Faculty, And Visiting Artists

UNLV Jazz Ensemble

UNLV Jazz Ensemble

Every year, the UNLV School of Music presents public performances of all kinds – most prominently theater, classical music, and jazz. Every so often, there’s recording to enjoy at home, too.

A new recording called “Rail Trails” showcases the wide range of jazz being played at UNLV. This release coincides with the 60th anniversary of UNLV’s founding. 

Dave Loeb is the director of Jazz Studies at UNLV. He said the recording included students because that is part of the mission of the School of Music.

“We have a very symbiotic relationship with those students musically and as mentors," he said, "Our goal is to prepare them for the professional music industry as soon as possible.”

The album's name is a Clay Jenkins tune. The title track was an arrangement of that composition by a former student and current teacher at UNLV.

UNLV has dozens of different jazz ensembles and jazz combos, Assistant Professor Nathan Tanouye told KNPR's State of Nevada, but Jazz Ensemble I is the premier group. 

It was that ensemble that recently went to the Monterey Jazz Festival, which is considered one of the most prestigious jazz festivals in the world. Not only did the ensemble go, but it actually tied for first place.

Tanouye said the festival only takes six college groups for its competition - not only from the United States, but from around the world.

"It's a blind audition among the top programs in the world," Loeb added. "So, it's an honor to perform there."

Loeb said to be performing where jazz greats of the past and the present have performed was like nothing he had done before.

“It is a humbling and an exhilarating feeling to be on the same stages as Thelonious Monk and Anita O’Day - all of those (people). That’s the legacy of this festival,” he said.

He said just playing the festival was like "floating in some kind of rarified air." 

One of the selections the ensemble played for the festival was "Love for Sale," which is tune also featured on the new album.

CD cover art/Courtesy: UNLV

“Rails Trails/Latin Journey III” CD Release Concert:

UNLV's Jazz Ensemble I & Latin Jazz Ensemble will appear this Sunday, September 24 at 2 p.m. at the UNLV Performing Arts Center. 

For more on the Fall Concert Series, Click Here


Dave Loeb, director, Jazz Studies and professor of music at the UNLV School of Music; Nathan Tanouye, assistant professor, Jazz Studies and Studio Trombone at the UNLV Schoool of Music

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Since June 2015, Fred has been a producer at KNPR's State of Nevada.