Jazz reunion

Denis DiBlasio plays his baritone saxophone during the reunion. DiBlasio was trumpeter and musical director in the Maynard Ferguson Band.  (Photo by Gary Payne)When the music began, Charles Hackett could not help but think of his days playing in the Three O’Clock Lab Band. Hackett, who attended North Texas between 1967 and 1976, calls those some of the best years of his life.

“As an old-timer, it’s always good to hear the younger kids play,” said Hackett, who played the saxophone and clarinet. “That’s what keeps the music alive. That’s what keeps the music vibrant.”

Hackett and a few dozen other UNT jazz alumni gathered Friday night for the first ever Homecoming jazz reunion and jam session.

In the University Union’s dimly lit Syndicate, current and former musicians played a long list of songs, including “88 Basie Street,” “Don’t Get Sassy” and “Nanu Nanu,” which was composed by Mike Steinel (’82), UNT associate professor of jazz.

Paris Rutherford, longtime director of vocal jazz at UNT who retired this spring, listened to the music with old friends.

“I love the jazz program,” Rutherford said. “These are still my people. I wouldn’t turn down an opportunity to listen to them play.”

 

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