The University Jazz Band #1 has performed concerts based on several specialized repertoires. Such breadth is an important part of a well-rounded jazz musician in the 21st Century. See the audio section for recorded examples.

Musically Incorrect

(read the complete program notes)

  • Featuring music from Pat Boone's heavy metal big band album "No More Mr. Nice Guy":
    • "Stairway to Heaven"
    • "Paradise City"
    • "Enter Sandman"
    • "Smoke on the Water"
  • Also featuring
    • "A Hard Day's Night"
    • "Also Sprach Zarathustra" (from the movie "2001: A Space Odyssey")
    • "Pomp and Circumstance"
    • Toto's "Rosanna"
    • Music from "Super Mario Brothers" video game

Television tribute (opener for comedian Bob Newhart)

Themes to:

  • "Peter Gunn"
  • "Batman"
  • "I Love Lucy"
  • "The Pink Panther"

World music

  • "Ethiopian suite" – adapted by the Either/Orchestra
  • Chinese jazz – "Tiananimen! suite" by Jon Jang

Cartoon jazz

  • Opener for clarinetist Don Byron’s "Bug Music"
  • Featuring the work of 1930s-40s cartoon composer Raymond Scott

Swing dance

  • 50 charts, including those originally recorded by Duke Ellington, Count Basie, Glenn Miller, Les Brown, etc.
  • Paul's List O' Pain


  • Tower of Power ("What Is Hip," "Squibcakes," "Attitude Dance," "Soul Vaccination")
  • Brecker Brothers ("Some Skunk Funk")
  • and more

Musically Incorrect Program Notes

Musically Incorrect, for Cal Poly’s University Jazz Band #1, means music that sounds very different from the original because it is orchestrated for big band, and this difference makes the music sound, well, wrong somehow. Sometimes this makes the music seem funny, or sometimes it might make us question the judgment of the composers and arrangers. For instance, how could an arranger have ever combined a bluesy, funky piano lick with the theme music for the movie 2001: A Space Oddysey? Not only is that a little funny, but it seems, well, musically incorrect. Despite the odd character of the music presented tonight, we have tried to present this repertoire to you as skillfully as any concert the band has performed in the past.

While we might question some of their judgments, the composers, arrangers, and publishers who produced the pieces performed for this Musically Incorrect concert should be applauded and respected for their efforts. Producing an arrangement for big band, even with the advantage of today’s computer musical notation programs, is a lot of work, and all the arrangments performed tonight are well-crafted.

It is only with the advantage of historical perspective and hindsight that we are able to critique some aspects of these arrangements. This is mostly due to changing fashion. For the arrangements done decades ago, they contain musical aspects that proabably seemed very contemporary and even hip at the time, but which, now, might cause us to exclaim “What were they thinking?!” But we can only ask that question, and even laugh a little at those judgments, if we realize that we are no less subject to the same limitations of perspective regarding the music of today that we enjoy or perform. If we realize that we are just as limited by the fashions of our time, and if the arrangers of the pieces performed tonight realize the same for themselves, then we can all enjoy each other’s occasional lapses in judgment in good nature and with respect, understanding that we are all in the same boat.

Tonight’s concert is based on the idea that jazz is big enough to encompass even musically incorrect repertoire. Jazz is an improvisatory art form, so creativity is central to jazz. Creativity not only means improvisatory freedom, but the openness to include a wide range of influences which help to create new styles of jazz or new approaches to jazz. Jazz is the original fusion music: not only was jazz born of the fusions of black and white as well as British, Spanish, African, and French cultures in New Orleans, but throughout its history, jazz has always fused with other musical styles (bossa nova, rock, Latin, blues, world beat, etc.) in creative ways. Musically incorrect repertoire is one small example of the long tradition of creativity in jazz.

To be sure, the openness and creativity inherent in jazz must have its limits. Jazz is also an idiom, with a long and great tradition. That tradition is a definite one, and so it helps to define, and thereby limit, what jazz can be. (If jazz could be anything, Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony would be jazz.) So the trick for jazz musicians is to push the boundaries without breaking through its walls completely. We hope we have managed a new way to push some boundaries of jazz without breaking through them completely.

The centerpiece of the Musically Incorrect repertoire is some arrangements that were recorded by singer Pat Boone on his heavy-metal big band album No More Mr. Nice Guy. When Mr. Boone and his musical director Dave Seibels first conceived of this highly unlikely album, they, too, understood that it was, in some sense, musically incorrect, and had their chuckle over it. To their everlasting credit, however, they did not let that prevent them from recording the album, recruiting the finest arrangers and studio musicians. They knew how to produce an album with world-class standards, even if, in some sense, it was a bit of a hoot. It is in that same spirit that tonight’s program is presented.

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