The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Local News

October 11, 2012

Mike Pound: Jazz orchestra to play ‘Uncle Jim’s music’

I’m not sure I want people to know this, but when I’m not listening to Jimmy Buffett’s station on satellite radio, I’m listening to Frank Sinatra’s station.

I’m not sure if the radio station is owned by Frank, what with him being dead and all, but the station is called “Seriously Sinatra,” so I call it Frank’s station. They play a lot of Frank’s music, and his daughter Nancy sometimes hosts a show on the station. But they don’t just play Frank’s music. They also play a lot of music by folks such as Tony Bennett, Mel Torme, Ella Fitzgerald and the great Billy Eckstine. By the way, I had to take a minute and stop, dial up and listen to Billy singing “I Apologize.”

I’m glad I did.

My uncle Jim is the guy who clued me in to the music of Frank’s era. My uncle went to high school in the early 1950s, and the music played on “Seriously Sinatra” is the music he grew up with. When I was a kid, the music my uncle grew up with was known as “my uncle’s music,” and no self-respecting teenager would ever listen to his uncle’s music. And I didn’t.

Then I got a bit older and discovered that I didn’t much like the music that kids younger than me were listening to. I mentioned that to Jim, and he basically said “tough (bad word).” Then he put on a Sinatra album, and I was hooked.

I remember one day, many years ago, driving somewhere and listening to one of those “Music of Your Life” stations. Frank’s song “There Used to Be a Ballpark” came on, and I thought it was about the best song ever.

My uncle Jim loves Frank’s music, but it took several years for him to come around to Sinatra. See, my uncle is of Irish Catholic descent, and when he was a teenager that meant he was a Bing Crosby guy. “But then I heard ‘The Birth of the Blues’ and I changed my mind,” Jim said.

In case you’re wondering, I just stopped, dialed up and listened to Frank’s version of “The Birth of the Blues.” I better quit mentioning songs or I will never finish this column.

If you like the sort of music I’ve been writing about, you might think about taking in a performance next week of the Crowder Jazz Orchestra. The 18-piece band will play at 7 p.m. Tuesday at Carthage Memorial Hall, 407 S. Garrison Ave.

The orchestra’s performance is a fundraiser put on by the Crowder College Foundation. A pre-event social with mixed drinks, wine and hors d’oeuvres will begin at 6 p.m. Tickets to the social are $5 and include floor seating for the performance. General admission balcony seats will be free.

Tickets may be purchased at Webb City’s Crowder campus bookstore, and at Arvest Bank in Carthage. Tickets also may be purchased at the door.

Collectively, the members of the Crowder Jazz Orchestra have played with folks such as Doc Severinsen, Joe Williams, Henry Mancini, Wayne Newton, Bob Mintzer and the Woody Herman Orchestra.

Bill Lee, who is helping with the event, told me that the orchestra features a mix of professional musicians, college professors and well-known, talented local players. And while I’m sure the orchestra can and will play a variety of musical styles, Bill said the group loves to play what I call “Uncle Jim’s music,” and I think that’s a good thing.

A bunch of Carthage folks and businesses ponied up money to make Tuesday’s event happen, which is a pretty neat deal. The Crowder College Foundation operates independently from the college and is a not-for-profit corporation that works to support the college.

If you take in the performance, look me up. I’ll be the guy hollering for “The Birth of The Blues.”

Do you have an idea for Mike Pound’s column? Call him at 417-623-3480, ext. 7259, or email him at mpound@joplinglobe.com. Follow him on Twitter @mikepoundglobe.

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