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Little Big is Theme for USM Jazz Lab Bands Fall Concert

Mon, 11/02/2020 - 09:06am | By: Mike Lopinto

Jazz Lab Band in concertThe University of Southern Mississippi Jazz Lab Band will present its Fall concert of its 2020-21 season in a live streaming event from Marsh Auditorium on Thursday, Nov. 12 at 8 p.m. The program will feature music for Little Big Band.

A traditional big band includes four trumpets, four trombones, and five saxes along with a rhythm section of drums, bass, guitar, and piano. While not open to a public audience, the concert will be streamed free-of-charge on the School of Music’s YouTube channel at

“This is actually something I have wanted to do for a long time, but always felt compelled to do traditional big bands in order to provide performance opportunities for as many students as possible during their studies at Southern Miss,” said Larry Panella, Director of Jazz Studies. “Now, because of COVID-19 rehearsal space restrictions, we’ve ventured into this new direction and the students are really enjoying the music and the more open setting it provides for soloists and ensemble performance.”

The COVID-19 pandemic and its social distancing requirements has resulted in a new opportunity in exploring the music of the Little Big Band – a reduced size ensemble made famous in such landmark recordings as Miles Davis’ Birth of the Cool, saxophonist Art Pepper and the famed album Art Pepper +11 as well as numerous albums by the Dave Pell Octet, Oliver Nelson and others. Since then, other similar groups have formed in a day when touring with a full big band is too costly.

Artists such as the late Maynard Fergusen, Michael Buble’, and Harry Connick Jr. have routinely used this smaller sized band for backing so this pandemic challenge has resulted in a chance to explore music new and old music in a format that straddles the genres of big band and combo.

The Jazz Lab Bands are conducted by Larry Panella, Director of Jazz Studies and Gabriel Scavassa Borin, Graduate Assistant to the Jazz Studies Program. Works by Marty Paich from the Art Pepper +11 album along with arrangements by Mike Tomaro and Rob McConnell will be performed.