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Texas Jazz in Europe: End of an Era


by Jerome Weeks 22 Jul 2008

Neil Slater conducted the One O’CLock Lab Band in Italy The One O’Clock Lab Band’s tour of Europe is coming to a close in Perugia, Italy — and so is director Neil Slater’s career with the band.  After 27 years, he’ll be stepping down in August. So this is his last tour performance. We’ve been […]

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Neil Slater conducted the One O’CLock Lab Band in Italy

The One O’Clock Lab Band’s tour of Europe is coming to a close in Perugia, Italy — and so is director Neil Slater’s career with the band.  After 27 years, he’ll be stepping down in August. So this is his last tour performance. We’ve been following the University of North Texas crew practically since their start in early July, posting photos from photographer and UNT student Michael Climents’ Flickr photos. We’ve also highlighted some of the blog posts from band member/trombonist Sara Jacovino.

What we hadn’t realized is that this is Sara’s last gig with the band, too. She and ten other members are graduating. Check out their farewell concert on the jump.

JULY 18

Posted by Sara Jacovino

The Umbria Jazz Festival in Perugia is still going strong — brought to you by Hag coffee and its “Pleasure Moments” campaign. Speaking of coffee, the coffee in Italy is amazing – and for only one Euro (for an espresso or latte), I can drink a ton.

That being said, I used today to catch up on some much deserved sleep (most likely spurred on by the over consumption of coffee, i’m certain).

Highlights of the day include:

1. Consuming my 15th Italian pizza in 4 days: prosciutto. I am surprised at the quantity of pizza that is served in this country; I expected it to be a false stereotype. Like there were bikes in Amsterdam, there is pizza and pasta here (even in nice restaurants).

2. Playing another great set at the Umbria festival. We performed during the 9.30 time slot– which, unfortunately, made it impossible to go watch Chaka Khan at 8.45. I took my last solo as a member of the One O’Clock (I didnt play one on the next show) over my arrangement of 3 Blind Mice. The audience was once again, humongous.

JULY 19

Posted by Sara Jacovino

Today marks the final day of an era. It started out as a typical Italian day: Jason Hausbak and I walked to the nearest pizzeria for our 60th/61th pizzas. Im starting to get the hang of this language: “Prego, un pizza cotto e aqua natural” — Ive successfully mastered the art of bastardizing Italian.

On to the good stuff: the performance. For the 3rd night in a row, we played in an open square in Perugia. It was a Saturday, so the square was even more packed than normal. We started slightly early, in an effort to lengthen our total playing time. The set was very ambitious: It was made up of tunes that we, in general, play very well: Heat of the Day, The Other (a brand new Neil Slater original), Havona, Ordinary Deviation (comp, S. Jacovino), If You Could See Me Now (arr. N. Slater), Beautiful Friendship, Until I Met You , Side Effects (Slater), Song for Gabe (E. Weiss), and Got a Match (as fast as possible).

Craig Marshall (with the help of our guide, Bobby) explained to the audience that it was the final performance of Neil Slater. He received a very long ovation from the crowd. We received such a long applause after Got A Match, that we played an encore of Machito — after what I thought was the final note of my One O’Clock career, we proceeded off the stage to pack our horns. The audience wanted no part of this, they kept clapping — so we had to play another encore: Night Visions — then we ran off of the stage.

The band presented Neil with a signed poster of the Umbria Festival, a signed picture of Neil (in one of his typical open mouthed/pointing poses), and a bottle of nice champagne.

This show is the last for:

Saxophone: John Leadbetter, Isaac Lamar, Chris Bullock
Trombone: Sara Jacovino, Ben Polk
Trumpet: Sean Foley, Justin Stanton, Evan Weiss
Rhythm: Jiri Levicek, Tim Goynes, Ross Pederson

Isaac Lamar on sax

After the show, our bus driver drove us to the hotel and then back to the square for some celebration. Bobby led Hil, Ross, Tim and myself to a great restaurant (after traversing half of the city and finding every other one full). We enjoyed a huge 3 course meal — 2 hours later, we returned to the square to find our friends (in general, meals take forever over here). Back in the square, we were met by shoulder to shoulder crowds of thousands and hanging out and having a great time.

A few hours later, four of us decided it was time to return to the hotel. This meant getting down the hill. None of us wanted to spend the extra money to take a cab. The most obvious route: run down the hill. It was a refreshing 20 minute jog down a steep hill. I managed to avoid falling on my face. We were quite overheated and had to go for a late night swim (quite fitting considering that the trip started in a similar manner).

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