School of Music

Brent LaCasce and USM Faculty Jazz Ensemble to Reimagine Pop and Rock Songs for “The New Standard” Jazz Concert

Brent LaCasce

GORHAM, Maine – The melodies of Radiohead, Prince, John Lennon, Paul McCartney, Joni Mitchell, and other contemporary pop and rock artists will fill the University of Southern Maine (USM) School of Music’s Corthell Concert Hall when Brent LaCasce, USM artist faculty in vocal jazz, and the USM Faculty Jazz Ensemble present “The New Standard,” later this month.

Back in the heyday of jazz, innovative artists such as Miles Davis, Charlie Parker and John Coltrane turned to the music of George Gershwin, Cole Porter and Harold Arlen for their inspiration. The resulting style, which evolved from the 1920s-1950s, is what is now known as "the jazz standard."

LaCasce and the USM Faculty Jazz Ensemble have turned their focus to pop and rock music from the 1960s through today for inspiration, deconstructing and reimagining the original instrumentations in an exploration of a modern jazz standard.

The details of the concert are:
“The New Standard,” featuring Brent LaCasce and the USM Faculty Jazz Ensemble; 8 p.m., Friday, Nov. 15, Corthell Concert Hall, USM Gorham campus; tickets, $5-$15

“I don’t do crossword puzzles – this is what I do for fun,” LaCasce said in a recent interview. “I take the lyrics or the melody, place it on the blank canvas and see what happens.”

LaCasce says that while he and the ensemble are respectful of the original composer of each song, they’re taking the tunes in a direction those artists would never have imagined. 

“This by no means diminishes the value of the standards,” LaCasce said. “But because we love Gershwin doesn’t mean we can’t love Radiohead.”

The USM Faculty Jazz Ensemble performs together just once a year.

The ensemble includes: Brent LaCasce on vocals and trumpet; Barry Saunders, USM artist faculty, on saxophone; Bill Street, USM artist faculty, on saxophone; Christopher Oberholtzer, USM professor of music and director of jazz studies, on trombone; Jed Wilson, USM artist faculty, on piano; Gary Wittner, USM artist faculty, on guitar; Broneck Suchanek, USM artist faculty, on bass; Les Harris Jr., USM artist faculty, on drums; and Micah Maurio, USM artist faculty, on trumpet.

Details of the concert: 

Tickets: $15, general public; $10, seniors, USM employees and alumni; $5, students.

Make reservations online at http://usm.maine.edu/music/boxoffice or call the USM Music Box Office at (207) 780-5555. For special accommodations call (207) 780-5142, TTY (207) 780-5646.

Make reservations online at http://usm.maine.edu/music/boxoffice or call the USM Music Box Office at (207) 780-5555. For special accommodations call (207) 780-5142, TTY (207) 780-5646.

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