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TI Jazz Band on DAJF Celebration Stage this year

May 1, 2013

By Kathy Edwards McFarland

Sunday at the 2013 Denton Arts & Jazz Fest, the Texas Instruments Jazz Band played the Celebration Stage – one of seven stages at the festival. So difficult to know where to be, since Eric Scortia and Clint Strong were playing the Jazz Stage opposite corner of Quakertown Park.

TI Jazz Band at 2013 Denton Arts & Jazz Fest

TI Jazz Band with “Blue” Lou Marini, at 2013 Denton Arts & Jazz Fest

The TI Jazz Band was certainly worth the journey between stages for those who heard them. The 18-member big band, formed in 1986, is based at the Texins Association of Texas Instruments in Dallas. (Membership is open to all people eligible for Texins Association membership. The band is a non-profit organization and all earnings are used to support the operating expenses of the band.)

Sparked by an ad placed in a TI company newspaper, the band quickly reached a sustainable level and has remained active since it’s inception. Openings are filled with Texins Association members when they are available. The band has musicians from numerous organizations across Texas Instruments and Raytheon Systems. Almost everyone played in high school and college and is glad to have an outlet to continue to study and play jazz.

The band rehearses every Tuesday night at Collin College in Plano, Texas. Kris Berg, Director of Jazz Studies at the college, directs the band. The group currently owns several hundred charts spanning the range of big band music. The concerts are normally geared more toward performance type events rather than dance band jobs, but the group can cover many types of events. The band performs about a ten times each year.

  • Don’t let the amateur status of the band fool you. The group has performed at Artfest, Montage, The Meyerson Symphony Center, The Starplex Amphitheater, and The Texas Jazz Festival. At a judged festival at Loyola University in New Orleans in 1995, the band walked away with top honors – a Superior rating in both performance and sight-reading.

You may have noticed a few familiar names in the TI Jazz Band legion – the late Leon Breeden, consummate Director of University of North Texas One O’Clock Lab Band; “Blue” Lou Marini and Tom “Bones” Malone, UNT alums and well known performers; and Kurt Elling and Peter Erksine, recent guest artist/lecturers at UNT Jazz Studies division.

The band has released two CD’s “Jazz Bytes – Version 1.0” (2000) and “AlgoRhythm” (2006).

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