Bison Jazz Orchestra to Present History of Jazz

April 30, 2001

A walk through the history of jazz will bring professional musicians, historians, and students to the stage during Oklahoma Baptist University's Bison Jazz Orchestra's spring concert, Friday, May 4, at 7:30 p.m. in Yarborough Auditorium.

Tracing the development of jazz from its early stages through the 20th century, the group will present representative pieces from each era of style.

Dr. Doug Watson, OBU professor of English, will be the narrator of research collected by the group's student musicians.

To illustrate the origins of jazz, the BJO will play a ragtime tune by Scott Joplin and a Dixieland arrangement of "South Rampart Street Parade."

Oklahoma City artists Peter and Lisa Krause of the Peter Krause Big Band and Trio will be featured in a Billie Holiday medley and in a big band arrangement of "Easy to Love."

OBU associate professor of woodwinds Dr. Chris Bade will join the orchestra for the Swing era to play Artie Shaw's "Begin the Beguine," and Glenn Miller's "Moonlight Serenade."

Seniors John Cox, trumpet, and Brandon Holt, saxophone, are featured soloists in "Ornithology," by Charlie Parker as an example of the Be-bop era.

Senior percussionist Jessica Winderweedle will demonstrate West coast jazz with a solo in "Channel One Suite," by Buddy Rich.

The Jazz Orchestra is directed by Dr. Pancho Romero, OBU associate professor of music.

The Bison Jazz Orchestra comprises, with few exceptions, the students from the Symphonic Band. The 18-piece ensemble has released two compact discs, "Bison Jazz Orchestra" in 1998 and most recently, "Final Cut," in the fall of 2000. The group often participates in the Wichita Jazz Festival and the Jazz Festival at the University of Northern Colorado receiving consistent superior ratings.

Romero, a native of Las Vegas, N.M., comes from a family of music educators and has an extensive background in the music retail business. Active as a professional performer and teacher, Romero regularly serves as a jazz clinician in the public schools and for honor bands, recently conducting the New Mexico All-State Jazz Ensemble and the Regional Honor Jazz Band in Abilene, Texas. In March, Romero traveled to Guatemala City as part of an Oklahoma group conducting clinics in jazz improvisation and musical instrument repair at the Guatemala Music Conservatory.

Prior to coming to OBU, he owned and operated the Romero Family Music Center in Albuquerque. He founded the Albuquerque Jazz Orchestra and the Border Jazz Orchestra.

He received a bachelor of music degree from New Mexico State University and a master of music education degree from the University of North Texas. He recently earned the doctor of musical arts degree in trumpet at the University of Oklahoma.