For those who don’t know about Denton, its time to find out. It’s a small town about 30 minutes north of Dallas and is home to the nation’s largest, and most distinguished music program – the University of North Texas. Their ’1-O’clock’ jazz band is world renowned, and truly the gold standard for undergraduate jazz performance.
This music program, which started long ago with a music education focus, has turned Denton into a music mecca. The list of well-known artists that have come from Denton is pretty staggering (if any of you read this, we’d love to hear from you). It of course has a live music scene to match that. I had the pleasure of getting a good taste of the scene.
Spent a great couple hours talking with a group of music students – many thanks to my gracious host, Dr. John Murphy – tenor saxophonist, ethnomusicologist and self-described techie… As always, it’s great to just be around young folks with a passion for music. I hope I have the chance to talk with more college audience on the road trip – it’s like a pit stop… recharges the engines. Paused on my way out at the department’s archive room to load up on the best student ensemble recordings from that last 10 years. Treasure trove of great music discovery for jazz lovers… can’t wait to get that into the Genome.
Drove into town that evening and had a great meetup at the Flying Tomato. Great conversation with Patrick, David, Collin, Beth, Tim, Zev, long timer Mr. Joe and Greg. Thanks to all for coming – got a good tutorial in Denton music history and shared ideas for where we should take Pandora Media Inc. I continue to be struck by the friendliness and warmth around the state.
That evening I was treated to two excellent bands at Dan’s Silver Leaf. Dan is a generous patron of the local music scene, dedicated to providing a venue for new artists and supporting the scene. Oso Closo launched the evening – 5-piece band with some great songwriting and arranging – brought Queen to mind. The headliner, local funk-jazz outfit Snarky Puppy was celebrating their CD release party. All UNT students, 4 piece horn section, backed by a slammin’ rhythm section. It’s a real pleasure to hear fusion music. Some serious chops, but also an effort to write interesting songs. Particularly impressed with the bandleader Mike, on bass. He was all over that thing. They’ll soon be in the genome (as will Oso when their CD comes out… get on it guys).
Left in the early morning hours, ears ringing (again)… but inspired.