Two years after its 2007 release Voices, the University of Memphis Southern Comfort
Jazz Orchestra (SCJO) is back with Out of the Bluffs. "We record the work of our student
composers and performers on a regular basis," says Jack Cooper, head of the University's
jazz studies division and SCJO's director. "Putting the material on CD is just taking
the next step in making our music available for everybody."
Out of the Bluffs is a U of M production start to finish. Produced by Jack Cooper
and David Peoples, award-winning music graduate student, the tracks were recorded
entirely at the University of Memphis with Jonathan Frazer, associate professor of
recording technology, working as recording engineer and students from the music industry
program as his assistants. Music industry alumnus Mark Yoshida of Audiographic Masterwork
in Memphis mastered the CD.
"Voices was recorded at the U of M and Young Avenue Sounds and even though that was
a good experience, it's nice to show that you can do it all in house," Cooper says.
Just like Voices, Out of the Bluffs features full-time U of M music students on all
tracks as well as original compositions by the jazz program's student composers. In
the liner notes to the title track, Cooper remarks: When talented composers and instrumentalists
are brought together in our program, it is time to utilize those elements so students
experience musical art that is designed specifically for them.
'Out of the Bluffs' (composed for SCJO trombonists Anthony Williams and Victor Sawyer)
is an adept composition and deserves the status of being the title track. The Orchestra's
latest CD will be available at the Tiger Book Store on Walker and Cats Music later
About Southern Comfort Jazz Orchestra: The Southern Comfort Jazz Orchestra has a long
reputation of musical excellence at the University of Memphis. The Orchestra is comprised
of 17 outstanding full-time university student musicians ranging from undergraduates
through doctoral candidates. The ensemble performs a wide range of styles from composers
Fletcher Henderson and Duke Ellington to modern composers such as Jim McNeely and
Bob Brookmeyer. The Orchestra regularly performs and records new student compositions,
commissions, and new works from outside composers. Recent performances include a tour
of Europe, and presentations at the International Association of Jazz Educators Conference
and the Tennessee Music Educators Association convention. Most recently the group
was honored to be a part of the National Endowment of the Humanities "Looking at Jazz"
Series held in the Mid-South in 2007.