This week some very talented drummers descended on the 2016 Disneyland Resort All-American College Band. The band was joined by two guest clinicians throughout the week, Steve Houghton on Thursday and Gregg Field on Saturday. On each of these days, director Dr. Ron McCurdy stepped back and enjoyed the show as these talented musicians led the band for the jazz sets in Disney California Adventure’s Hollywood Backlot Stage.
On Thursday July 7, drummer Steve Houghton joined the Disneyland Resort 2016 All-American College Band as the guest clinician of the day. This was the culmination of a two day experience for members of the band with Houghton.
The set with Steve Houghton began with the director of the band, Dr. Ron McCurdy, leading an upbeat version of When You Wish Upon a Star before he introduced Houghton.
Following the opening tune, Dr. Ron McCurdy introduced Steve Houghton to the audience. Audience took over the drum set and continued the concert with Cariba, a Bossa nova sounding song with a jazz flute solo followed by a trombone solo!
Dragonfly came next. This song included several solos, including a vocal solo by Kevin who normally plays tuba. A fun upbeat tune, it definitely was enjoyable to listen to.
The concert continued with a tune called Dangerous Curves. It also included several soloists. This song has a lot of spirit and was a lot of fun to listen to… and hard to sit still for.
The music then slowed down a bit with an arrangement of George Gershwin’s My Man’s Done Gone Now. The arrangement was by John Williams and really was beautiful.
The concert concluded with Steve Houghton leading Bepop and Roses. It is a tune from the Woody Herman library, a band in which Houghton played in.
An alumni of the Disneyland Resort All-American College Band, now Houghton is currently Professor of Percussion and Jazz at Indiana University’s Jacobs School of Music.
Saturday July 9 found Gregg Field taking the drum seat and leading the Disneyland Resort All-American College Band. Field is a regular clinician with the band with this year being his 22nd time.
The concert began with Dr. Ron McCurdy leading the band as it played When You Wish Upon a Star before introducing Field.
Seeing that the Count Basie Band is celebrating its 80th year, Field built the set list to celebrate this band in which he once played. The first song was appropriately named Basie.
The next song was a tune entitled Nasty Magnus. This song was written by Quincy Jones for Count Basie about a disc jockey from Pittsburgh Pennsylvania and is where the title came from. Magnus was one of the great jazz DJs and this song was written to honor him.
The next song was one that Field said that he normally wouldn’t choose for Disneyland but since it was the 80th anniversary of the Count Basie Band, he thought it would be appropriate to perform it. Little Darlin’ is a classic Count Basie song and really is beautiful.
A jazz standard, Corner Pocket also comes from the Count Basie songbook. This also featured a few soloists from the band and happens to be Field’s favorite.
The set wrapped up with a fun tune entitled Salt Peanuts. This arrangement comes from Arturo Sandoval which he did as a tribute to Dizzy Gillespie. It also happened to include some audience interaction.
The afternoon with Gregg Field was the culmination of two days rehearsal for the band. Field, who is one of the most sought after drummers in the industry, also teaches with Dr. Ron McCurdy at the University of Southern California where he is the Chair of the USC Thornton Board of Councilors. According to his USC bio, he also has worked on thirty-two Grammy nominated albums, seven of which received the award. In 2010 he was honored with the Latin Grammy “Producer of the Year.”
Field’s performance with the Disneyland Resort All-American College Band wrapped up a week of all drummers as the guest clinicians for the band. More guest clinicians are expected throughout the summer before the band wraps up its season on August 12th.
What was your favorite song from these two sets?
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