Special Tribute Concert to Miles Davis During IUP Family Weekend

Posted on 9/16/2019 11:08:38 AM

Miles Davis Birth of the CoolAs part of its Sound Choices series, the Indiana University of Pennsylvania Department of Music will open the 2019–20 season with “Birth of the Cool: A Tribute to Miles Davis” on Saturday, September 21, at 7:30 p.m. in the Blue Room on the first floor of Sutton Hall. This production will take place during IUP’s Family Weekend.

Campus and community members are all invited to enjoy refreshments and an evening of live jazz in a cabaret setting as friends, alumni, and members of the IUP Department of Music perform music from the critically acclaimed compilation album by American jazz great Miles Davis. The Blue Room was selected because it offers a setting that is more like that in which this music was first experienced. Rather than concert seating in rigid rows, patrons will be able to sit around tables and enjoy light refreshments available for purchase from Music Department student groups.

IUP’s Family Weekend is an opportunity for families to come visit their students at their home away from home. There are events all day on Saturday, September 21, including college receptions, scavenger hunts, concerts, and a football game. 

Miles Davis has been called one of the most influential musicians of the 20th century. He was constantly evolving and growing as an artist, having been among the original musicians to develop a jazz style known as Bebop just following World War II, to being an innovator in the development of modal, “cool” jazz, to becoming the leader in the vanguard movements of Free-Jazz and fusion which added electronic and rock elements with jazz. His nonet which recorded Birth of the Cool in 1949 and 1950 represents another stream of jazz of a sort, and that is of a melding of composed chamber music with the fast angular melodies and rapid-fire improvisation of Bebop. The arrangements, largely unnoticed when they were first presented, led to future Miles Davis works with Gil Evans (Sketches of Spain, Porgy and Bess), where Miles soloed with an orchestral accompaniment that was scored with extended harmonies. When the nonet recordings were bundled together as an LP in 1957, they became very popular and influential.

“We will be performing eight of the original 11 recordings. In addition to these arrangements, I have written two arrangements using the same instrumentation to feature Laura Ferguson on vocals,” said David Ferguson, assistant dean for the College of Fine Arts. “We will end with a Miles Davis favorite from his most famous album, Kind of Blue.

The group consists of the following members who are either friends of the IUP Department of Music, faculty members, or alumni: David Ferguson, trumpet; Ben Saylor, alto sax; Jim Flowers, bari sax; Sarah Schouten, French horn; Christian Dickinson, trombone; Zach Collins, tuba; Evan Engelstad, piano; Bob Insko, bass; Mike Kingan, drums; and Laura Ferguson, vocalist. 

Tickets for this event are available for purchase online through the Lively Arts website or by calling the ticket hotline at 724-357-1313. They can also be purchased at the Performing Arts Center Ticket Office in Fisher Auditorium. Any seats remaining will be sold at the door starting one hour prior to the performance. Tickets are priced at $11 for regular admission; $9 for ages 60+, military, and I-Card; and $7 for students and 18 and under.

A special ticket offer is in place for Family Weekend. Use the code “FAMILY” to get a student/child ticket for 50 percent off when a regular priced ticket is purchased. To avoid a $3/ticket fee, please purchase tickets in person in advance of the day of the show at the ticketing office.

Online tickets are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The ticket hotline and ticket office in Fisher Auditorium are open from noon to 5:00 p.m. weekdays. The ticket office is closed for university holidays. For more information on this and other events as well as group tickets within the Lively Arts, call 724-357-2787 (ARTS) or email lively-arts@iup.edu.

Sounds Choices is a series of the Lively Arts and is produced by the Department of Music. The Lively Arts, a program of the College of Fine Arts, presents nearly 200 performances, programs, and exhibits annually.