Wednesday, 7 February 2018

North Texas State University Lab Band (NTSU) in '75 and '78

The series was recommended by a commentator and when I saw the 1975 installment with the involvement of Chick Corea and Lyle Mays, I knew it had to be worth hearing.  The B1 track is in fact the sole composition from the former luminary, and it's called What Was, available for your listening pleasure here on youtube.

Just to backtrack a little, the discography makes it clear this was a very enduring franchise in the pantheon of university jazz big bands, which we've already covered pretty extensively.  Note the famed Peabody College one, for example.  On Wikipedia you can find an extensive history, perhaps too extensive, where the band is called the "One O'clock Lab Band," but:

Leon Breeden (1921–2010) presided when "The One O'Clock" was added as part of the official name in the early 1960s. North Texas has several lab bands, each bearing the name of their respective rehearsal times.  When Leon Breeden took over the Lab Band Program in 1959, there were four lab bands, then referred to as "Units:" One O'Clock, Two O'Clock, Three O'Clock, and Five O'Clock. At that time, the Two O'Clock was the premier band known as Laboratory Dance Band A.

Note that from wikipedia's Lyle Mays page, you can see that at the tender age of 22:

He graduated from the University of North Texas after attending the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire. He composed and arranged for the One O'Clock Lab Band and was the composer and arranger of Grammy nominated album Lab 75.

I'm going to be brutally honest here and state that his contributions were a bit disappointing to me, especially given the creative oddness of the titles of his pieces which raises high expectations, having little resemblance to the masterpieces with Metheny and on his solo album.

The 1978 installment is a really tastefully smooth and enjoyable slice of big band fusion from the late 70s, very typical of the times and their far remove from the unfortunate early days of the big band genre. The first track from 1978 called Elf:


  1. 1975

    1978 installment:

    Given the quality I'll find more from them

  2. Simon666, do you want me to post the comment, some of these I bought to rerip
    and thanks btw!

  3. Hey Julian - maybe just post the ones that you haven't got to re-rip?

  4. how about I post some in the next installment, credit to you?

  5. Sure thing - none are my rips, so do whatever you want. Look forward to hearing the new rips! I have some others on vinyl that I *must* get to ripping at some stage, will be at my partially-abandoned blog at :)

    1. i grew up with that blog, let us know when you get those rips out... many thanks for all the past ones

  6. Just re crediting : noting from rip comparison, pretty sure the 1978 rip in this post comes from Bacoso at the amazing & legendary Orgy In Rhythm :)

  7. Many Thanks Julian
    peace from Paris