SRU Jazz Ensemble records CD

jazz ensemble in recording studio

The Slippery Rock University Jazz Ensemble is putting the finishing touches on a new CD at Pittsburgh’s Audible Images Recording Studios. (Submitted photo.)

April 20, 2016

SLIPPERY ROCK, Pa. - The excitement, and nerves, of Slippery Rock University's 19-member Jazz Ensemble were palpable when they entered the high-tech world of Audio Images, a recording studio in Pittsburgh to record a new CD.

The CD, as yet untitled, will feature all new works that were written for the ensemble by Troy Roberts and other professionals, in the big band, traditional and contemporary jazz styles. Roberts, a saxophonist from Australia, is the featured guest artist on the CD.

"This is a monumental project for us. We commissioned 10 original charts and recorded them in a professional studio with an incredible guest artist," said Andrew Loose, a trumpeter and music education major from Harrisburg. "In May, we are taking the band on tour, playing across the state, doing a bit in a club in Harrisburg and then playing in New York City. Typical college jazz bands don't get to do these things, so it is incredibly special and humbling to be a part of the band that gets to make this happen."

Loose said the recording experience was hectic and spectacular.

He said the horn players were in one room with their own individual microphones, while the rhythm section guys had their own rooms. "Everyone needed a pair of headphones to hear the rhythm section since they were all in different rooms," he said. "It actually made it surprisingly difficult to play since I'm so used to hearing the drum set right next to me, but it didn't take long to get used to."

Roberts was set up in the control room, so that his audio could be recorded separately and can be edited.

"The whole process took a while because there is a lot of stopping and starting," Loose said. "We wanted to make sure we put forth the best product possible so we did several takes of the same section until we got one that we were happy with. It certainly gets stressful if a mostly good take has a few mistakes in it, but that's just part of the process."

Loose said he and other players worked together to plan and fund the recording. Students talked with Kush about all the specifics including everything from who the guest artist would be, to the recording process.

"Keep in mind that every single chart that will be on this record was written and arranged just for us," Loose said. "All of it is original music, and I'm insanely proud and honored to be able to play it. It's been a crazy build up and now that we've been in the studio recording the album, it's all really coming together and I couldn't be more excited."

A unique feature of the CD is that every tune has an improvised solo in it, all of which were extemporized during the recording session. Roberts soloed on all of his tunes

"Troy Roberts is an incredible musician and human being. He performed at Slippery Rock early in my sophomore year and it was by far one of the most fantastic concerts I'd ever heard. The music is incredibly original, grooving and complex at the same time," he said.

When the CD is released in the fall, Loose said he would buy "as many as I can get my hands on. This is something I am proud of and will remember for the rest of my life."

The ensemble includes:

  • Erik Krohnemann, a music major from Huntington, on alto saxophone;
  • Clint Bleil, a music education major from Pittsburgh, on alto saxophone;
  • Zach Bickle, a music education major from Lockport, New York, on tenor saxophone;
  • Jeanne Marie Stalteri, a music education major from Indiana, on tenor saxophone;
  • Kyle Strain, a music education major from Mercer, on baritone saxophone;
  • Craig Gill, a music performance major from Moon Township, on trumpet;
  • Andrew Loose, a music education major from Mechanicsburg, on trumpet;
  • Kevin Farinelli, a music major from Cranberry Township, on trumpet;
  • Rob Kaup, a music major from Pittsburgh, on trumpet;
  • Wes Woodward, a music major from Erie, on trumpet;
  • Kenny Farinelli, a music education major from Cranberry, on trombone;
  • David Vevers, a music therapy major from Pittsburgh, on trombone;
  • Scott Boyer, a music major from Pittsburgh, on trombone;
  • Aaron Podorson, a music major from Irwin, on trombone;
  • Steve Pachesky, a music education major from Norwin, on piano;
  • Walker Martz, a music education major from Butler, on guitar;
  • Simon Neubert, a music education major from Saxonburg, on bass;
  • Justin Vorp, a music performance major from Shaler, on drums; and
  • Adam Kantz, a music major from Beaver Falls, on percussion.

Jason Kush, SRU assistant professor of music, directs the ensemble.


MEDIA CONTACT: Gordon Ovenshine | 724.738.4854 | gordon.ovenshine@sru.edu