Live Behind the Iron Curtain
Released 1980
Added on Friday, 16 February 2018
Edition date 1980
Edition details


When the Band was invited by FRIENDSHIP AMBASSADORS Foundation in New York to perform in Poland, it took a while to realize that, yes, they did say Poland. We were invited to perform in Jazz Celebration One. It didn't take long for the Band to accept and start anticipating the tour with lots of enthusiasm.

The Jazz Ensemble had performed in Europe and Japan, but since Poland is an Iron Curtain country everyone knew this trip would be quite a different experience and quite different it was.

The tour took us to Warsaw, Wroclaw, Zielona Gora, Boleslawtec, Poznan, and finally back to Warsaw. First of all, Poland is very beautiful. As we traveled the countryside in our bus, we enjoyed it's rolling hills covered with lush greenery. Warsaw and Poznan are very modern cities, kept very clean and exciting to be in. It was interesting to note that even though most of the buildings were only about thirty years old, the Polish Government after World War II rebuilt them in their original architecture, style, and color so that the next generation of children would see and live in them as they were.The band as a whole agreed that they could "feel" and see a difference in the people on the streets. They were very quiet, very unemotional, very few smile, pretty much a "somber" feeling. That's when you appreciate the power of music and more otfour speciality: AMERICAN JAZZ

Young Polish musicians love American jazz and are very serious about learning and developing it. We listened to some very interesting lectures about Jazz and how Poland was developing their ideas. Many groups and recordings we heard were excellent. Jazz would probably not exist in Poland today Without great Polish Musicians performing it twenty-five years ago.

One such person is Jan "Ptaszyn" Wroblewski.  He is a famous Polish Jazz saxophone player that we met in Wroclaw. He fell in love with our Jazz Ensemble and the Jazz Ensemble loved him. He was amazed at how our players could be so young and yet so developed. He loved our precision and musical discipline. He was our soloist at Jazz Celebration One in Wroclaw, and had intended to just perform with us there, but he enjoyed it so much that he cancelled the next ten days of his schedule, got on the bus with us and performed with us on the rest of the tour. The Band and Jan became very close. sharing in his past experiences and learning a lot from his lecturers. On the record, he is the tenor soloist on "Hittin' 12" and "Half Unison".

A great example of the beauty and power of jazz was that in Europe and Japan, audiences, were extremely receptive, whistling, cheering, and applauding, and in Poland it was also like that, but it took longer, and you had to work harder. They just had further to travel to get emotionally involved in the music, but it was honest and they got there, but you had to earn it.

In one small city, Bolesawiec, it was the first visit by Americans and their first experience with American Big Band Jazz. They treated us very nicely, they had a beautiful hall to play in and we all had a marvelous time.

Pornan, the home of our guide."Urek", the city was much more sophisticated, the crowd was very interested in us and seemed to appreciate and understand Jazz more.  During the Jazz Festival we also performed a Live Concert on Nationwide Polish TV.

  • Director: Frank Gagliardi
  • Sound Engineering in LV: Bob Lentini (LAW Studios)
  • Trumpets: Travis Bardizbanian, Jon Bothwell, Tony Crapis, Tom McCauley
  • Trombones: Chuck Cox, Dan Haeck, Chuck Perron, Dan Weirich
  • Saxes: Byron Hamer, Gary Hypes, Loran McClung, Diane Smith, Paul Taylor
  • Percussion and Vibes: Sonny Maupin
  • Guitar: Dana Barry
  • Bass: Keith Nelson
  • Piano: Julie Fredrickson
  • Drums: Eric Ehrenpfort

Live Behind the Iron Curtain UNLV Jazz Ensemble

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