Jazz lovers from across Central Florida filled the theater at Ocoee High School on Saturday, February 3 for an evening of incredible music. The evening was hosted by Sterling Stevenson. Kicking off the night, Bernie Hendricks directed the Ocoee High School Jazz Band, showcasing some of the community’s rising stars in the world of jazz.
The Flying Horse Big Band, directed by Jeff Rupert, performed next. They are one of the premiere performing ensembles of the UCF Music Department. It has appeared at the Montreux and North Sea Jazz Festivals as well as numerous festival and concert appearances domestically. The group has had four recordings on the national jazz charts, B.M.O.C, Into the Mystic, The Blues is Alright and Jazz Town, all released on UCF’s record label, Flying Horse Records [Flyinghorserecords.com].
The Flying Horse Big Band has featured Randy Brecker, Bob Berg, Michael Mossman, James Moody, Nick Brignola, Harry Allen, Steve Turre, Rodney Holmes, Terry Gibbs, Marvin Stamm, Mulgrew Miller, John Swana, Kevin Mahogany, Lou Donaldson and Eric Alexander with the band. In 2005 the UCF Jazz Ensemble premiered Sam Rivers’ work for double big band, with Rivers’ RIVBEA orchestra. Former members of the band include musicians now performing on the Grammy’s and various television shows in Los Angeles. Several others are now professors at universities around the country.
The Jazz Professors then took to the stage after leading a free jazz clinic during the day. Faculty at the University of Central Florida’s Jazz Studies department, Jeff Rupert, Per Danielsson, Richard Drexler, Bobby Koelble and Marty Morell perform and record together. Their releases are available on UCF’s Flying Horse Records label: En Plein Air, Do That Again and The Jazz Professors: Live at the UCF-Orlando Jazz Festival.