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University of North Texas One O’Clock Lab Band: Lab 2017/Legacy: Neil Slater at North Texas (North Texas Jazz)

Review of two albums celebrating the respected university ensemble's 70th anniversary

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Cover of Lab 2017 by the University of North Texas One O'Clock Lab Band
Cover of Lab 2017 by the University of North Texas One O’Clock Lab Band

This is a milestone—the 50th annual release from UNT’s premier jazz performance unit. And there’s even more reason to celebrate: The 2016-17 academic year was also the 70th anniversary of the North Texas jazz program.

The One O’Clock Lab Band’s 2017 recording features the always-tight, always-robust big band performing three jazz warhorses, four student-penned pieces, one each from new director Alan Baylock and longtime UNT composition professor Rich DeRosa, plus a spirited finale from the Don Menza songbook. Tenor saxophonist Brandon Moore wrote one track, arranged three more, and is featured soloist on DeRosa’s gently swinging “Roundabout.” Baylock’s original, “Old School,” features an old-fashioned tenor sax battle between Moore and Brian Stark.

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