Jazz Ensemble Completes Latest CD, Smack Dab in the Middle

November 20, 2006

BLOOMINGTON, Ill. - The Illinois Wesleyan University Jazz Ensemble, founded and directed by Thomas Streeter, professor of music, has completed its latest CD, Smack Dab in the Middle.

The CD was recorded in the Westbrook Auditorium of Presser Hall, 1210 Park St., in Bloomington by Eclipse Studio of Normal, and includes musical selections from the past four years, commemorating the senior class' experience in the jazz ensemble while at IWU.  Songs on the CD range from the upbeat "Summertime" by George and Ira Gershwin to the smooth melancholy sounds of "What is a Woman?" by Harvey Schmidt.  Other tracks include "Georgia on My Mind" by Hoagy Carmichael, "Honeysuckle Rose" by Fats Waller, "Alone" by Lou Marini, "Love for Sale" by Cole Porter, "Teach Me Tonight" by Sammy Cohn, "Come Sunday" by Duke Ellington, "Tanga" by Dizzy Gillespie, "Hallelujah Time" by Oscar Peterson, and the title track "Smack Dab in the Middle" by Sammy Nestico.

Highlighted on the CD are students Phil Arquette (trombone), Brent Bogen (soprano saxophone), Kyle Charles (tenor saxophone), Luke Gullickson (piano), Nate Hahn (trombone), Phil Krawchuk (bass), Kathryn Lachey (vocalist), Steph Lyon (drums), Cory Nelson (tenor saxophone), Ted Nichols (trumpet) and Yuka Okada (alto saxophone).

Founded in 1971, the 18 member ensemble is comprised of both music and non-music majors. The students develop skills that make them competitive in the jazz/commercial playing field, as well as skilled enough to conduct an ensemble of their own.

The group has traveled the world performing, including visits to the United Kingdom, Scotland and numerous U.S. cities.  The repertoire of the group includes many jazz classics by artists such as Count Basie, Duke Ellington, Buddy Rich, Woody Herman, John Clayton, Stan Kenton and Bill Potts.

Streeter, who joined the IWU faculty in 1971, received his bachelor's and master's degrees in music education from Indiana University, where he studied under musicians Lewis Van Haney and William Bell.  He earned his doctorate of music at the Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C. where he studied with John Marcellus, world-renowned trombone virtuoso and teacher.  Streeter directs the IWU jazz program and coordinates the instrumental area in the School of Music.

With performance experience including tours as bass trombonist with Henry Mancini, Johnny Mathis and Andy Williams, as well as four years with the United States Air Force "Airmen of Note," Streeter is a nationally recognized and respected bass trombonist.  He has performed as a featured artist at the International Trombone Workshop in Nashville, Tenn., as well as with high school and university ensembles as a featured soloist.

Streeter is past president of the Illinois Chapter of the National Association of Jazz Educators (NAJE).  He currently serves as Central Divisi on Coordinator for the NAJE, is a member of the membership committee for the International Trombone Association, and was program director for the Birch Creek Music Center in Door County, Wis., for a number of years.

More recently, Streeter's work with music-related technology has earned him several University grants and the opportunity to learn new music software applicable to jazz arranging and improvisation.  

Contact: Meg Dubuque, (309) 556-3181