Jazz ensembles capture Hall of Fame top honors

Posted: Wednesday, 07 April 2009

TROY – Troy University’s jazz ensembles took a clean sweep of all collegiate competition categories at the 2009 Alabama Jazz Hall of Fame Jazz Festival in Birmingham.

The 2009 TROY Jazz Ensemble I was selected as the Most Outstanding College Jazz Band and will be permanently recognized with a plaque at the Alabama Jazz Hall of Fame as the “Band of Distinction.” The Troy University Jazz Chamber Ensemble was selected as the Most Outstanding College Jazz Combo, and junior music education major LaRoy Bodiford, from Luverne, was recognized as the Most Outstanding Jazz Soloist.

Other students singled out for special recognition for Outstanding Solo Performance were: pianist David Samuel, a music education graduate student from Pensacola, Fla., and trumpeter Melvin Burks, a sophomore history education major from Brundidge.

“The Troy University Jazz Program is the standard for university jazz programs in Alabama,” said Raymond Smith, associate professor of music in the John M. Long School of Music. “Troy alumni, friends and supporters can be proud of the tradition of excellence that is the Troy University Band Program.”

During the three-day Hall of Fame Jazz Festival, audiences were entertained with selections of traditional and contemporary jazz performed by high schools, junior colleges and university groups from across the South. Groups were adjudicated by a panel of nationally known judges, some of whom offered comments on TROY’s performances.

“This was an unbelievable performance by some of the best college players I have ever heard,” said Dr. Frank Adams, Hall of Fame director of education emeritus. “You have a great jazz program going at TROY.”

New Orleans jazz musician Joseph Smith, III, also a Hall of Fame member, praised the TROY groups.

“This is jazz,” he said. “You cannot judge perfection and this level of musicianship.”

Ray Reach, director of the student jazz program at the Alabama Jazz Hall of Fame, echoed the praise: “This was an incredible performance and an example of the best in college jazz programs.”

The Hall of Fame Jazz Festival was conducted in Birmingham on the last weekend of March. Smith said among the universities competing against TROY was the University of Alabama, Auburn University, Alabama State University, the University of Alabama Birmingham, Stillman College, the University of Alabama Huntsville, and Jacksonville State University.


Troy University’s Jazz Ensemble and Jazz Chamber Ensemble recently earned top honors in every category at the Alabama Jazz Hall of Fame Festival. (TROY photo)