HISTORY OF BLUES MUSIC LEADS TO CREATION OF JAZZ

by Lady Oliver

Daily Cougar Staff

The history and culture of African American people have been lyrically told through many generations of song.

The fertile soil of blues laid the foundation for and gave birth to another generation of music. It is no wonder that blues music, which is so rich in history, could have given birth to another music genre ... jazz.

People in the rural areas of the South were looking for a more fast-paced life that was found in New Orleans. As their pace in life picked up, so did the pace of the music. When blacks developed an interest in musical instruments, there was no one to teach them how to play. These self-taught musicians created jazz purely by accident.

One of the first to start the jazz craze was Buddy Bolden. In his younger days, he was known as "Kid" Bolden and later as "King" Bolden. This self-taught cornet player put together a band in New Orleans prior to the Spanish-American War.

Originally, these bands started with four to five members. They didn’t use a piano because it was too heavy to carry from place to place. As time passed and the music became more popular, the band size increased. With a larger band came stability, thereby allowing a piano to join in.

When the bands went on the road, the popularity of the music style increased among blacks. But this nontraditional music did not get recognition until a white band, The Original Dixieland Jazz Band, gained recognition.

Jazz greats like Louis Armstrong and Duke Ellington were already in jazz bands. They received recognition for "Big Band" style only after Benny Goodman copied their "swing" style, making it popular.

In spite of their secondhand recognition, both of these music legends went down in history as innovators and creators.

Cabell "Cab" Calloway was a "crap-shooting choir boy," according to the May 1990 issue of Billboard magazine.

He had a few voice lessons and played the drums for fun. His musical career started when he took a job as a time-keeper in a 10-piece Dixieland band.

Calloway's destiny was sealed when Louis Armstrong got him a job in "Connie’s Hot Chocolates," a Broadway show.

This future legend worked his way up to the Savoy Room, which was one of the most famous black dance halls in the world. This hall featured musical greats like Louis Armstrong and Duke Ellington.

Calloway finally made it to The Cotton Club and worked in rotation with Ellington. At age 23, Calloway was making $50,000 a year, and that was during the Great Depression.

Calloway has been called "a jazz mastery of word sounds and scat-singing." Some say he surpassed his mentor, Louis Armstrong.

"Scatting" is the ability "to create an instrumental-style improvisation by stressing vowels and consonants, while mimicking the tones and articulations of jazz instruments," according to the April 1994 issue of the American Journal.

"You see this rapping they doing today; I did that 25, 35, 45, 55 years ago!" exclaimed an 85- year-old Calloway in a Billboard magazine interview.

While performing live on the radio, he forgot the lyrics to "Minnie the Moocher" and improvised with "Hi-De-Ho," which became his calling card.

Ella Fitzgerald also helped to make scatting popular in the 1940s and 1950s.

"The First Lady of Song," as she is often referred, started her career at the early age of 15 when she entered and won a talent show.

She was discovered at Amateur Night at the Apollo in Harlem, New York.

Her first hit song was a jazzy rendition of a nursery rhyme, "A-Tisket, A-Tasket."

Fitzgerald performed as a solo singer with several groups, including Louis Armstrong and Louis Jordan.

In the late 1940s, Charlie Parker and Miles Davis introduced a new style of jazz called "cool jazz."

Cool jazz is still prevalent today through artists like Grover Washington Jr., whose career took off in the '70s and who has worked with other jazz greats like George Benson.

Benson's album, <I>Big Boss Band<P>, joins him with the likes of Count Basie's orchestra.

The aforementioned jazz musicians and other current jazz artists like Najee and Gerald Albright are building on a strong foundation other African American legends laid before them.

 

 

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MAGAZINE SALESPEOPLE WORKING ON CAMPUS ILLEGALLY, POLICE Say

by Bobby Summers

Daily Cougar Staff

UH police are warning students, faculty and employees to be wary of people trying to sell magazine subscriptions on campus.

Pamela Abame, an employee of M.D. Anderson Library and a victim of a similar proposition last year, was approached Thursday afternoon near the UC by someone claiming to be with the UH volleyball team. She said the person claimed he was "in a contest and needed to sell a certain number of subscriptions in order to win."

"Last year, I bought a subscription from someone using that same pitch, and I never got my magazine," Abame said. "I was foolish, I guess. I paid cash, But they game me an official-looking receipt that said I could get a refund if I was not satisfied. All I had to do was mail the receipt to the magazine.

"When I didn't receive any issues of the magazine, I contacted the company. They told me they never received my money or a subscription form from the salesperson. The magazine also told me these salespeople are 'free-agents' and, therefore, the company was not responsible for them."

Abame said when the salesperson approached her Thursday, she immediately remembered last year's incident and refused to listen any further.

According to Jose Martinez, with the UC Reservations Office, only campus organizations are authorized to sell magazine subscriptions on campus.

"They can't be selling subscriptions legally," Martinez said. "No group has permission to sell subscriptions on campus at the present time."

UH Police Lt. Helia Durant said campus police were not aware of illegal magazine subscriptions being sold on campus until Abame complained.

"Any time anyone gives you a sales pitch, you should be wary of it," Durant said. "The person approached by the salesperson should call the university police from one of the blue emergency phones or from a phone in one of the buildings."

 

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VIP REGISTRATION'S FEE OPTIONS FLAWED, OFFICIALS SAY

YEARBOOK, PARKING DECALS, HEALTH INSURANCE AFFECTED

by Andy Alford

Daily Cougar Staff

 

Technology is supposed to make work easier, make business more profitable and make reaching customers more convenient.

Technology in the form of UH's Voice Information Processing enrollment service, however, proved to be a bane to business for UH's Student Publications, Parking and Transportation Services, and student health insurance. Audree Komorny, assistant director of Student Publications, said, "Yearbook sales are down quite a bit because of it."

Sales of the Houstonian have decreased about 60 percent when compared with this time last year, Komorny said. Thus, while 1,056 students had ordered yearbooks by February last year, only 390 people have done so this year.

Komorny and Richard Cigler, director of Student Publications, attributed the loss of sales to the script VIP enrollment services used in offering the option to buy the Houstonian.

"I hope they get it straightened out by next year. I hope the yearbook can survive this," Cigler said.

Yearbooks may still be purchased at $30 each from Student Publications in Room 151, Communications Building. The menu in the VIP enrollment script fails to explain that options to buy the yearbook, parking decals and student health insurance are offered under "optional fees."

"They (VIP enrollment services) thought they had all their bases covered, and, lo and behold, they didn't," Cigler said.

A proposed VIP menu offers an option that explains what is covered under "optional fees."

Floyd Robinson, interim director of the University Health Center, said insurance sales declined by $200,000 from last year, or about 686 students.

Robinson will meet Friday with Charles Shomper, associate vice president for Information Technology, to push for a change in the VIP enrollment menu that would force students to choose "yes" or "no" to health insurance and other optional fees before they could exit enrollment services, he said.

Krista Forster, a junior theater major, said she went to the E. Cullen Building to obtain her parking decal. Although she registered through VIP, she was unaware that she could have ordered her decal under "optional fees."

"I thought that if they'd had (the option), it would have been when you made your schedule," Forster said.

Gerald Hagan, director of Parking and Transportation, could not be reached for comment.

Parking decals may be purchased from Parking and Transportation Services in the E. Cullen Building, but the deadline for purchasing student health insurance passed Feb. 8.

 

 

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2-22-1

UH LOOKS FOR HITS IN SAN MARCOS

by Richard C. Kroger

Daily Cougar Staff

A quick start to the season was apparently not in the Cougars baseball team's plans as it dropped its opener 2-1 to the McNeese State Cowboys Wednesday, despite a good performance from UH starting pitcher Bo Hernandez.

The Cougars (0-1) scattered seven hits over nine innings with shortstop Jason Smiga's RBI double in the fifth providing the only real offensive spark.

Houston committed three costly errors in the field, one of which led to the eventual winning run for the 2-1 Cowboys.

Cougars head coach Raynor Noble said he was pleased with the "good pitching" he got from his team, but was upset with the lack of offensive output.

"We have got to improve our ability to hit the ball," he said. "We had some pointless strikeouts in key situations that really hurt us."

The Cougars, who, thanks to some unlucky scheduling, will start the season with a six-game road trip, now travel on to play a doubleheader against the Southwest Texas State Bobcats, whom the Cougars whipped twice last year.

Houston will have starting pitchers Jason Farrow and John Box on the mound for the doubleheader. Both pitchers make their Cougar debut having transferred in from Stephen F. Austin this year.

 

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3-28-1

UH FOES DIFFERENT AS MEN, WOMEN

by William German

Daily Cougar Staff

A stark contrast between the Houston Cougars men's and women's basketball opponents presents itself Saturday.

Although both will tip off against Texas Christian – the men at noon in Hofheinz Pavilion, the women at 7 p.m. in Fort Worth's Daniel-Meyer Coliseum – the quality of the two teams they will be playing is about as far apart as Newt Gingrich and Ché Guevera.

The Horned Frogs, at 13-7 overall, 5-3 in the Southwest Conference, fell to third place Wednesday after a loss at Texas.

"They're probably the best offensive team in the league," Houston head basketball coach Alvin Brooks said of the Frogs, who are third in the nation in scoring offense. "They've got the best offensive post tandem in Kurt Thomas and Byron Waits."

Thomas has been close to the top of the NCAA in scoring (28.4 points a game) and rebounding (13.7) all year.

The Lady Frogs (1-19 overall, 0-8 SWC) haven't been close, but rather <I>at<P> the bottom of the standings since the season started, and have a chance to be one of the worst teams in SWC history.

And, as has been the case all season, coach Shell Robinson is still trying to find that one bright spot.

"I'd have to think (about where a bright spot is) for about three or four more seconds than usual," Robinson said.

Both Cougars teams are red hot, the men winning four straight and the women five in a row. The Lady Cougars are tied for second in the SWC at 5-3 (11-9 overall), while the Cougars are tied at fourth in conference with a 4-4 record, 7-13 overall.

Cougar sports staffer Jason Paul Ramírez contributed to this report.

 

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3-25-1

SWIMMERS HOST RICE; CLARK IN ORLANDO

by Jonathan Golenko

Daily Cougar Staff

With two first-place finishes already under its belt this season, the Houston swimming and diving team and head coach Phill Hansel have reason to be optimistic going into today's meet with the Rice Owls at 7 p.m. in the UH Natatorium.

Hansel is confident the swimmers will match up well against Rice.

"They are pretty well-balanced," Hansel said of Rice. "Jenny Farmer is a versatile, all-around swimmer for them."

Junior swimmer Alex Heyns is expected to provide a good matchup against Farmer.

"She should do well again," Hansel said.

Because UH and Rice are so evenly matched, it should be a close contest.

Senior diver Olivia Clark, who took first place in the 1-meter and 3-meter events in UH's last meet, had no competition, literally.

"It was basically Olivia diving against Olivia," Hansel said.

Clark will travel to Orlando this weekend to participate in the All-Star Invitational.

 

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1-18-2

TRACK 'ON BOARDS' FOR INDOOR CLASSIC

by M. S. Ameen

Daily Cougar Staff

Today and Saturday, the Houston men's and women's track teams will be competing in the Oklahoma Track Classic indoor meet in Oklahoma City.

With two meets finished this season, the teams are looking to sharpen techniques before the Southwest Conference Indoor Championships.

The SWC Championships begin Feb. 16 and 17 in Fort Worth. This weekend's meet should help the Cougars' engines warm up after a pause in the schedule last week.

The Oklahoma City meet will be run on "on boards," a different track from UH's earlier meets. The track is constructed of wood with banks at the turns. UH head coach Tom Tellez said this will help his team since the SWC Championships will also be held on this style of track.

"We'll be trying to get good practice in running the boards before the SWC Championships," he said.

 

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JEKYLL & HYDE TRANSFORMED INTO MUSICAL MASTERPIECE

by Eric James

Daily Cougar Staff

The Alley Theatre and Theatre Under the Stars' new production of the musical <I>Jekyll & Hyde<P> comes with the disclaimer: "As <I>Jekyll & Hyde<P> is a work in progress, this configuration of musical numbers is subject to change." That's a good thing.

The musical, at times, seems like it wants to be the next <I>Phantom<P>, and at others, emulates <I>Les Miserables<P>. The musical is trying hard to become a classic, almost <I>too<P> hard, and that is what will stop it from becoming just that.

The musical is based on the story of Dr. Jekyll, by Robert Luis Stevenson. Robert Cuccioli stars as Dr. Henry Jekyll, whose obsession with finding a way to split the two sides of every man--the good and evil--ultimately causes his evil alter ego, Edward Hyde, to emerge and run rampant about the city.

Jekyll is denied a specimen on which to test his solution in order to see if the two personalities can be separated. When the board of the hospital denies him the human, Jekyll decides to use the potion on himself. You know the story.

During this experimentation, Jekyll is engaged to marry Lisa (Christiane Noll). After the denial, however, Jekyll ends up in a brothel and meets Lucy (Linda Eder), a prostitute with one helluva voice.

Another subplot: Lisa was once courted by a gentleman named Simon Stride, who swears revenge on Jekyll and Lisa because Jekyll stole Lisa from him. Nice set-up. Unfortunately, the writers never go anywhere with this storyline. This is one problem with <I>Jekyll & Hyde<P>. Leslie Bricusse introduces all these wonderful characters, and then we lose contact with them.

Stride is played wonderfully by Bill Nolte. His voice is unbelievable and his acting is biting and fun. But Bricusse refuses to develop this rivalry anymore at all. Stride turns up at the end, yet never does a thing about his promised vengeance.

Lisa is engaged to Jekyll, yet you see her once at the beginning of the first act and once again at the end.

The other problem is the music. Sometimes it seems Bricusse is trying too hard with the lyrics. Frank Wildhorn is right on with his dark music, but the words being spoken are too contrived. The dance scene to the musical number, "Facade," is sharp and stiff. The characters do not seem to comprehend the aesthetic feel to the piece this musical calls for.

The only other complaint about the music is Noll's renditions of her pieces, which come across to be more fit for Top 40 than for a musical. Her voice is beautiful, yet she's using it through the wrong facet.

The feel of the musical is great. The entire theme of the good and evil sides of men is overcome by the underlying feel of sexuality. In fact, the musical is deliciously erotic. It's more about the caged-up sexuality of people that needs to be released than it is about a man overcoming his evil side. When Hyde first breaks free and sings his song "Alive!", he uses his cane in a definitely phallic way, ultimately displaying the entire sexual nature of the piece.

Cuccioli is nothing less than superb as the Dual Doctor. He appears smaller as Jekyll and less sure, but once Hyde appears and he lets his long hair fly, his performance soars. He moves slowly and surely, with long, gentle steps. He appears hulking and in complete control.

The best parts of the musical are the scenes that take place in the brothel. The whores are fun and all have tremendous voices. The musical numbers "Bring Out the Men" and "The Girls of the Night" wonderfully explain the duality the prostitutes live. They must come across fun-loving and libidinous, yet they all long to be set free and live the lives they had always dreamed of living.

Two of the most powerful scenes, however, occur when Jekyll presents his case before the board and when he faces off with his alter-ego.

During the board scene, the people on the board hover over Jekyll on a scaffold that stretches across the stage. They holler down at him and he crumbles beneath their strength.

The scene in which Jekyll finally decides to face Hyde is one of the best scenes I have ever seen in a musical. While Jekyll sings in his laboratory, a giant face of Hyde appears on all the walls of the stage. The faces are pure evil and his voice booms as the two men battle it out. The voices are powerful and the scene is tremendously effective.

The first act is a bit forced, but in the second act, the producers pull out all the stops and dazzle you with special effects and explosions. The acting on everyone's part is excellent and the voices are beautiful, especially Cuccioli, Eder and Nolte. Other standouts in this musical are Rod Loomis as Sir Danvers, Lisa's father, and Philip Hoffman as Jekyll's lawyer.

If the writers can follow through with their plots and make more characters that we can see long enough to enjoy, this musical can easily become great. It is well worth viewing now, but when they fix all the problems, watch out, Broadway.

Barry McNabb does the choreography and Gregory Boyd directs wonderfully, save some repetitive staging and a bit too much heaving of Jekyll at the end.

Vincent Mountain does a superb job creating a dark stage where the sensuality of this production can come alive. David Woolard also does a fine job with the costumes.

<I>Jekyll & Hyde<P> is an erotic musical with a lot of possibility. The love that develops between Jekyll/Hyde and Lucy that contrasts with his love of Lisa is a wonderful story. It plays at the Music Hall through Feb. 19.

 

 

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