The MU jazz program celebrated the release of its first CD, Vertigo, Thursday evening at the Missouri Theatre. The record is a collaboration between vibraphonist Mike Mainieri and the MU Concert Jazz Band.
The night of the release party opened with a set played by the Studio Jazz Band, who warmed up the crowd for the flagship ensemble.
Afterwards, the Concert Jazz Band played a set including two songs from Vertigo, which was sold before and after the concert and at intermission. All proceeds from the CD will benefit the jazz program.
Vertigo is the debut CD from the jazz program, but big bands director Arthur White, who is in his second year at MU, produced five CDs at his previous job at Northeastern State University in Oklahoma. He is hoping the CD can be used as a tool to promote the jazz program.
White also hopes to produce more CDs in the future —- one each year —- that would also feature guest artists and the jazz program.
“My goal is to help the university and to help our jazz studies program, which I think is on the cusp of something great, build a high national profile,” said White. “The CD is the first step in making that happen.”
White said another goal for the CD is to give the students who recorded it professional experience. Students worked with Mainieri, a professional artist, and were also able to record in a professional studio in Columbia.
“It’s exciting to get to play with such a big name, because Mainieri has had a lot of experience," trumpet player Anne Linders said.
White said this is very similar to an internship in other programs.
“I hadn’t really done any professional recording before so it was neat to go into a studio and see how it’s done,” baritone saxophonist Sarah Carney said. “They would try to record us all together, and then sometimes they would go in and it would be an overdub so it was neat to just be a part of that work.”
White and the band put in a lot of work making the CD. Mainieri had never produced a big band album before, so White arranged a few of the songs on the CD in big band form. Once the arrangements were ready the band went to work on rehearsing.
The band rehearsed through finals week to prepare for recording.
“We rehearsed three times a week during the school year so until the end of the semester we were rehearsing all of those tunes,” Linders said. “We had a bunch of extra rehearsals during finals week and right when school let out that led up to the recording session.”
After the tracks were recorded, White spent his summer mixing the CD and preparing the public relations and cover art.
“There’s a lot that goes into making a CD,” said White. “It’s behind the scenes stuff that people don’t think of.”