Hello and welcome, members of the MCSMA Senior High All County Jazz Band. Your conductor is the venerable Nathan Parker Smith. His bio is below. Ahead of that are links to the music in your folders. Please prepare it all prior to the festival. Much of it is very challenging and will require both significant practice and listening. You will find links to each piece below. Please take advantage of this resource.
NATHAN PARKER SMITH
A native of Northern California, Nathan Parker Smith is an active performer and composer currently residing in Brooklyn, New York. In 2009, he formed the “Nathan Parker Smith Large Ensemble,” an eighteen-member group regularly performing original music throughout New York, including recent performances at the Fat Cat, Spike Hill, Cameo, the Tea Lounge, Shapeshifter Lab, The Jazz Gallery and the Greene Space at WNYC. The group has been noted for their unapologetically aggressive and engaging style, heavily informed by European heavy metal, 20th century classical composition and progressive rock. “…[a] seriously aggressive large ensemble… music that speaks loudly and carries a big stick, too.” Dave Sumner, Wondering Sound.
The Nathan Parker Smith Large Ensemble’s debut album, Not Dark Yet, (2014 Brooklyn Jazz Underground Records) has been described by Timeout New York as a “muscular, bracingly intricate new disc” and as “blockbuster, even bruising, music with little respite on the program” by Richard B. Kamins. The album has been featured on All About Jazz and on radio stations throughout the United State, Canada and Europe.
Smith’s compositions are devised, both formally and conceptually, to rely heavily on collective group improvisation and to avoid many of the techniques that have become the status-quo approach for modern big-band writing. The Ensemble conjures images of both disturbance and intensity, while simultaneously providing an undercurrent of ephemeral optimism. “This is the work of an intelligent and capable conductor, leading his army through a flurry of aggressive leftfield maneuvers.” Ari Sadowitz, Huffington Post. Often pushed to their limits, the musicians collectively thrash and roar through Smith’s compositions, the soloists soar over powerfully churning distortion ladened ostinatos, ever-changing mixed meters, feedback squeals and anthemic melodies.
Smith has received the Billy Joel Scholarship for Composition, the Raymond and Maxine Schirmer Prize in Jazz Composition, the 2010 ASCAP Foundation Young Jazz Composers Award, the 2010 BMI Foundation Charlie Parker Composition Prize, the 2011 Manny Albam Commission, and special recognition by the Jazz Advisory Committee of the New York Youth Symphony for exceptional accomplishment in music composition. Smith has been a guest clinician, composer and conductor at the Manhattan School of Music, the Eastman School of Music, the University of Connecticut, the University of Nevada, Reno, and City College New York. His compositions have been performed by ensembles throughout the United States, including performances at the Vancouver Jazz Festival and the Rochester International Jazz Festival. Smith holds a bachelors of music from the University of Miami Frost School of Music and Masters of Music from the Eastman School of Music.