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WVU Jazz program celebrates 40 years with dual album release

WVU Jazz Students

Mon Hills Records this week will release jazz music from multiple generations of West Virginia University students. 

“Celebrating 40 Years of Jazz” and “Country Roads” both feature WVU students and are available at all online music retailers August 15. 

Jared Sims, director of WVU’s Jazz Studies program, worked with current students to highlight their original work on “Celebrating 40 Years of Jazz.”

“We wanted to put out a new recording and we wanted it to feature students as artists,” Sims said. “It’s easy to play a famous jazz tune and re-record it. We want our students to be great artists as much as they are great players.”

WVU Jazz Ensembles CD

The new CD features six original compositions — all written by current members of the jazz program —that are an eclectic mix of jazz styles.

“The styles are everywhere in the jazz arena,” Sims said. “When you have guitarists, a drummer, a keyboardist and horn players composing music, you get a sense of their tastes and influences. It’s a great collection of music.” 

WVU Jazz Ensembles 1978 CD

“Country Roads” features WVU’s 1978 Jazz Ensemble. Sims and School of Music director Michael Ibrahim discovered the mint copy of the 1978 recording and decided to have it digitally remastered and released. The 1978 Jazz Ensemble was directed by Randall G. Misamore and features guest soloist Roger Pemberton.

“I thought being able to feature these new student compositions with a classic WVU recording was a great way to feature the Jazz Program at WVU,” said Mon Hills Records General Manager Josh Swiger on releasing the two recordings at the same time.