Beginning in about 1959, Leon Breeden, arguably the most famous professor of jazz music in the world, took over and made famous the jazz music program at what was then called North Texas State College. It's in Denton, about 35 miles north of Dallas.
His musicians and his bands - called Lab Bands - produced so many outstanding musicians that Stan Kenton began recruiting new band members from his bands. Time past, and in honor of the success of Mr. Breeden and his students, Mr. Kenton donated his entire music library to what by then had become known as the University of North Texas. The collection is worth more than a million dollars.
Now let me tell you about Galen Jeter. He was actually a biology major, but had such fine talent as a trumpeter that he was chosen by Mr. Breeden to play in the most famous of Mr. Breeden's Lab Bands, the 1 O'clock Band.
After graduation, and while a serious public school biology teacher, Mr. Jeter formed the first city-supported jazz orchestra in the U.S. His band has just celebrated its 34th anniversary. Patty and I were there to join the celebration.
And interestingly, many of the musicians in Mr. Jeter's orchestra are graduates of North Texas and protégés of Mr. Breeden. And some toured with the Kenton bands.
This Sunday night, October 28th, Galen Jeter's big orchestra will play its weekly Sunday evening concert at the Village Country Club at 8303 Southwestern, just east of Greenville. It starts at 7 PM and usually continues until 10 or so. Tickets are 7 bucks, and a hot buffet and drinks are available. The orchestra's many CDs are available for purchase as well.
But here's the treat: Mr. Jeter's orchestra will be playing all original arrangements from the actual book of the Stan Kenton Orchestra. If you are a big band jazz fan, you'll want to join Patty and me in the audience. It will be awesome. See you at 7 this Sunday! (I won't be sitting in on piano...you've gotten yet another reprieve.)