Stage Bands & School Jazz Labs

Stage bands, usually associated with a university or high school, are blaring swarms of mainly brass players that crowd the field at half-time during a football game. Mardi Gras bands, the Mummers' Parade, and other events featuring parade bands comes close. Recorded stage bands offer the same appeals as most rare grooves: rare breakbeats and extended soloing, limited regional or local pressings, odd (sometimes very odd) covers of popular tunes. The most famous is the funky Kashmere Stage Band of Texas.

Schools and universities often maintain a "jazz lab" for incubating talent indoors, away from the pressures of nonmusical events. Each class year typically produces an album, or an album documents an inter-school competition (or "festival"). Sometimes the ensemble is not called a "jazz lab," but the idea is the same. In some cases the music is funk or rock or something else, and the responsible school department may be Music, Drama, Art, or a mixture. Student productions fascinate, much as do military-recruitment albums, chiefly for reflecting a battle between the hip (usually the students) and the square (usually the adults).

Hank Levy of Towson University in Maryland (just north of Baltimore) literally wrote the book on directing a leading jazz lab. "A Time Revolution" spells out his expertise in getting an unwieldy student ensemble to use odd time signatures, meters, etc. Closely associated with Stan Kenton, Levy frequently judges stage-band festivals and leads workshops. The highly original, professional-level records usually include breakbeats and at least one funk or funky-rock cut.

Buying: Regional records traditionally have been the stuff of local sales, but increasing interest means more records are being discovered and circulated farther. Avoid any that are definitely pointless (patriotic, religious, or antique music with no indication of even one fun tune). Many look dull but the proof is in the listening.

Scholastic Stage & Jazz Lab LPs

3Abington High School Band; 4127
81971 Alfred I. Du Pont "Blazers"; RPC; 1971
8Berlin Township Elementary School Stage Band Presents "A Rhythm Fiesta"; self-produced, no #; 1977 (NJ; kid funk!)
7Canadian Stage Band Festival: Northern Lights; Music Minus One MMO-2000-2008; 1974 (2 funky cuts; studio recording of highlights of the 2nd annual event)
6Carroll County All County Chorus-Jazz Ensemble-Band; Ster-Art SR-343 (Reisterstown, MD)
6Central High School Jazz Lab: Experiments; Baldwin CS-7685; 1972 (York, PA)
6Central High School Jazz Lab: Big Swing Face; Baldwin CS-7748; 1973
6Central High School Jazz Lab: Nice & Juicy; Baldwin CS-8036
7The East Meadow High School Jazz Ensemble; Century 38909; 1970 (mod jazz; William Katz, dir.; New York)
6Elizabethtown College Stage Band: The Big Band Sound of 1970; Century 36671; 1970 (mod jazz; Otis D. Kitchen, dir.; PA)
6The Eastman Jazz Ensemble Live!; MES-54600; 1976/1975-76 (Eastman School of Music, Rochester, NY)
6[Harvard University] The Raunch Hands: Pickin' & Singin'; CBS/Epic LN-3698 (1960s folk group on a major label)
6Jefferson High School Symphonic Band & Jazz Ensemble: Live Pops Concert; Tristate TR-86; 1974 (Hagerstown, MD)
5Karns High School Bands: Marching Band/Studio Lab Band/Concert Band/Karns High School Choir; Director DR-8237 (custom pressing; dir. by Jack H. Thomas & Milton Nelson)
7Kashmere Stage Band: Zero Point; Kram K-104; 1972 (TX High School)
5Londonderry Junior High [School Band & Chorus in]: Spring Concert 1973; RPC 60111/60112; 1973 (Andy Soucy, Dir.)
7LVC Jazz Band: Unreel; Trutone LP-5205011979; 1979 (Lebanon Valley College, NJ-PA; soul-jazz horns/funk)
7Miami University Marching Machine: Oxford, Ohio 1976; 1976 (some hip covers, percussion)
7Montgomery County Community College: Latitudes 1972-3; Latitudes DM-68414; 1973 (not stage or jazz lab but strange spoken/poetry w/psyche-folk-rock music; Blue Bell, PA)
7Montgomery County Community College: Latitudes 1973-4; Latitudes 37632; 1974 (w/prog group Puddleduck)
7The Keith La Motte Jazz Enemble: In Concert; RPC 90471/90472; 1971 (Old Court Junior High School in Baltimore, MD; on great NJ custom label; mod/mod soul/mod funk/mod Latin; w/one Hank Levy tune)
7New Haven Women's Liberation Rock Band/Chicago Women's Liberation Rock Band: Mountain Moving Day; Rounder 4001; 1972 (funky man-hatin' rock; band members presumably associated w/colleges)
7New Trier [High School] Jazz Ensembles: So High Above the Clouds; ARK Custom MC-20501; 1984 (2-LP with mod soul jazz and breakbeats)
7North Texas State University Lab Band: Lab 69; LJ-102; 1969 (Leon Breeden, Director)
7North Texas State University Lab Band: Lab 72; LJ-105-2; 1972 (2-LP)
7North Texas State University Lab Band: Lab 75; LJ-108; 1975
6Northern Burlington County Regional High School Band Concert Band; ; AMP 7223; 1972 (NJ; Ronald D. Bennett, Band Director; 9-min. "Highlights from 'Mission: Impossible'")
7Northern Illinois University Asian Music Ensemble: West Meets East--Chinese & Balinese Music; Folkways FSS-37455; 1981 (school/stage/China/gamelan; one side each, Chinese and gamelan)
6Jerry Nowak: Concert Band Series '73; Big Bells Inc. BBI-1001; 1973 (NJ)
5The Pennfield Junior High School Band and Chorus 1971; PANoramic YA-5182; 1971 (PA)
6Raider Stage Band: Cookin'; RPC; 1977-78 (Spring Grove, PA Junior High School)
5[Blue Band/]Raider Stage Band: Sound Waves; 1979-80 (Spring Grove, PA Junior High School)
5South Carolina State College Presents The Collegiate Chorale & The Jazz Ensemble; Music Memories NR-10640; 1979
6Southern Regional High School Bands (SRHS): Concert Band (Capitol Performance); RPC 440821-440822 (dedicated to Bob Pacillio)
4Spring-Ford Senior High School: Upper SE District Band; WFB Productions 869; 1973 (Montgomeryville, PA)
8The T.S.U. Tornados: And Now the TSU Tornados; Ovide [# unknown]; 1968-69 (Texas State University, TX; w/2 previously unreleased tracks as Funky Delicacies DEL LP-0016; 1999;; elsewhere may be "T.S.U. Toronadoes")
6Towson State College Jazz Ensemble; [no publ. info.]; 1972 (2-LP gatefold; dir. Hank Levy; Maryland)
6Towson State University Jazz Ensemble: 2+2=5; Music Minus One Stageband Series MMO-2040; 1975 (soul jazz; dir. Hank Levy; complete version--also 8 other versions MMO 2041-48)
7Towson State University Jazz Ensemble: Jazz '76; TSJ 4557; 1977 (soul jazz/funky rock/funk; dir. Hank Levy)
8Towson State University Jazz Ensemble: Jazz 77; TSJ 4764; 1977 (soul jazz/funky rock/funk; dir. Hank Levy)
7Towson State University Jazz Ensemble: Jazz 78; TSJ 87035-ST; 1978 (soul jazz/funky rock/funk; dir. Hank Levy)
7Towson State University Jazz Ensemble: Jazz '79; TSJ 1535; 1979 (soul jazz/funky rock/funk; dir. Hank Levy)
6University of Northern Iowa Jazz Band I: Sinfonian Dimensions in Jazz; [Silver] Crest UNI-1972; 1972
7University of Northern Iowa Jazz Band: Stage Band Showcase Record 3, Vol. 1; 1972
University of Utah Jazz Ensemble: Jazz at the U. of U.; Sound Column Studios; 1974? (Henry Wolking, Director)
University of Utah Jazz Ensemble: Jazz Ensembles '75; Sound Column Studios; 1975
University of Utah Jazz Ensemble: Jazz '76; Sound Column Studios; 1976
6University of Utah Jazz Ensemble: Jazz '78 (aka "The Music"); Sound Column Studios SCS-223; 1978
6Wedgwood Middle School: Wedgwood Music 1972-1973; Wedgwood Music 7301-2 1973/1972-3 (stage band/mod/mod soul)
7West Virginia University Percussion Ensemble: Percussion on the Rocks; Century 39523
7West York Area High School Percussion Ensemble: Sound of Percussion; 1965 (Alan Wyand, dir.; Dick Schory, guest cond.; w/Joe Morello; Pennsylvania; versions of Schory's "Holiday for Percussion" & "Brass Jockeys"; also a hand-clapping tune)
6The Western Pennsylvania School for Blind Children Presents Spring Concert '71; Engle Associates Recording EAR-10177; 1971 (dirs. Joan Cimino, Walter C. Iacobucci)
8Various: 11th Annual Chesapeake Jazz Festival; 1976; Ster-Art SR-400/4465 (judged by Manny Albam, Hank Levy, Evan Solot; High Schools featured: Edgewood PA, Concord Creators of Wilmington DE, Lower Merion PA, Council Rock of Newtown PA, Central PA, Yorktown of Arlington VA, Willingboro)
6Various: Project One; NAJE-1 (National Association of Jazz Educators Presents Towson State College Jazz Ensemble, NE Conservatory of Music Uptown Dues Band, CA State U. Northridge Jazz Ensemble, Eastman School of Music Jazz Ensemble, U. Miami Concert Jazz Band, N. TX State U. Lab Band, De Anza College Jazz Ensemble)

Scholastic Stage & Jazz Lab 45s

7The T.S.U. Toronadoes: Gettin' the Corners/What Good Am I; Atlantic 45-2579 (Texas State University, TX; elsewhere as "T.S.U. Tornadoes")

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