Jazz orchestra gains new artistic director

Lone Tree shows have grown in popularity

Courtesy photo
Steve Weist, new artistic director, left; Art Bouton, executive director and saxophone player, center; and Al Hood (background) rehearse for a Colorado Jazz Repertory Orchestra concert.
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The Colorado Jazz Repertory Orchestra starts its third season with changes. Director Art Bouton, Lone Tree resident and professor of saxophone at the University of Denver's Lamont School of Music, started the orchestra by calling on an ensemble of Colorado's top jazz musicians to perform at the Lone Tree Arts Center. In season two, it built to sold-out audiences for the last two concerts.

Bouton has formed Colorado Jazz Inc., a nonprofit corporation, to help bring the CJRO to national prominence and announced a new position of artistic director.

He is “Grammy-nominated jazz artist and educator Steve Weist, a cutting-edge composer and trombonist” who has recently joined the Lamont School as associate professor of jazz studies and commercial music, Bouton announced.

Bouton said Weist “has spent seven years directing what is arguably one of the finest bands in the world, the University of North Texas One O' Clock Lab Band. I just had to have him out front.”

The CJRO will start its new season on Oct. 10 with “A Night in New Orleans,” featuring internationally known jazz trumpeter Byron Stripling.

“Stripling is the artistic director of the Columbus Jazz Orchestra, leader of his own quartet and constantly in demand to play with pops orchestras around the world. An extroverted performer who brings the audience into his music, the happiness that he exudes through his trumpet, his vocals and his words is reminiscent of Louis Armstrong, yet very much his own,” Bouton said.

He continued to say that Peter Olstad, the regular lead trumpet for CJRO, was not able to play in the October concert, and Weist said: “Let me call my buddy who plays lead for Count Basie. He'll think this will be fun.” This is an example of the kind of change Weist can bring to the band.

“Holidays With the CJRO” is scheduled on Dec. 7 when the band will perform big-band holiday favorites, including Duke Ellington's “Nutcracker.”

On Jan. 23, there will be a tribute to Woody Herman's Thundering Herd, and on March 23, vocalist Kim Nazarian of the New York Voices will be featured.

Bouton said, “This band has been a dream come true for me. To see the Arts Center packed for a tribute to Maynard Ferguson concert, with people (who brought their own trumpets) playing along to `Hey Jude,' was just amazing.”

Tickets are on sale for the new season at the Lone Tree Arts Center box office, 10075 Commons St. in Lone Tree, lonetreeartscenter.org.