Jazz Studies Program Celebrates 70th Anniversary
Review by Willard Manus

The University of North Texas Jazz Studies Program recently celebrated its 70th anniversary in a major way by releasing four special compilation albums, plus LAB 2017, a new release by the One O’Clock Lab Band.

The milestone event marks seventy years since the founding of the North Texas jazz program by faculty members Neil Slater, Jim Riggs and Jay Saunders, who devoted decades to teaching multiple generations of students, many of whom went on to productive musical careers. The program is now led by the distinguished composer Richard DeRosa. The One O’Clock Lab Band, which began releasing albums in 1967, is headed by Alan Baylock, himself a UNT alumnus.

LAB 2017's ten diverse tracks include student originals, compositions by faculty members, and a composition by Don Menza.

Among the compilation albums are LEGACY–-NEIL SLATER AT NORTH TEXAS, a 4-CD boxed set containing the complete recordings by Grammy-nominated composer Neil Slater, the longest-tenured director of the One O’Clock Lab Band. A 168-page booklet is included, featuring hundreds of photos and notes by band members, colleagues and friends.

Other compilation-album highlights include PERSEVERANCE: THE MUSIC OF RICH DeROSA AT NORTH TEXAS and AIRSTREAM ARTISTRY: JIM RIGGS’ BEST OF THE TWO. Under Riggs’ leadership, the UNT’s Two O’Clock Lab Band was named recipient of “Downbeat Magazine’s” Student Music Awards five different times.

To sample the music from these remarkable albums visit youtube.com/northtexasjazz/playlists or oneoclock.unt.edu or jazz.unt.edu