University of Utah jazz ensembles achieve top ranking
Published: April 23, 2012 02:16PM
Updated: April 23, 2012 02:16PM

Congratulations to the University of Utah Jazz Ensemble One and the U of U jazz combo Hot Club of Zion.

Both earned top rankings at the distinguished UNC/Greeley Jazz Festival this past weekend.

The largest event of its kind in the nation, the 42nd annual festival at the University of Northern Colorado brought together more than 275 college, high school and middle school big bands, combos, and jazz vocal groups from across the country.

Jazz Ensemble One, led by Director of Jazz Studies Russell Schmidt, received the highest designations in all 16 possible categories. Four students received individual awards for outstanding achievement as soloists: Denson Angulo (bass), Ben Kimura (piano), Ben Lepley (trombone), and Jeremy Tarshis (guitar).

The combo Hot Club of Zion, adjudicated by Dave Pietro, was rewarded exclusively with "excellent" rankings in all eight categories. Pietro told the group they were one of his all-time favorite combos in such a setting — high praise considering he has been a festival adjudicator for nearly two decades.

In all, these two Jazz Area groups went 24 for 24 with top rankings on the scoring sheets.