UIW Cardinal Jazz Band to perform with Air Force jazz band for one-night only musical event

If you ask Jim Waller, assistant professor of music, how the U.S. Air Force Band of the West Dimensions in Blue came to perform with the UIW Cardinal Jazz Band, he’ll tell you: “It’s a pretty cool story.”

Last fall, Air Force musicians visited UIW’s Luella Bennack Music Center to record songs for their upcoming CD and were more than impressed. “They were excited about the studio sound,” said Waller, who also serves as the studio’s chief engineer. “Most people don’t know this, but our studio is as good as a studio in L.A., New York, anywhere.”

Air Force musicians play in UIW's state-of-the-art recording studio.

Air Force musicians play in UIW’s state-of-the-art recording studio.

The state-of-the-art space opened in 2015 and was designed by renowned studio designer Russ Berger. Since its opening, it has recorded music by a number of artists, the Air Force rock and jazz bands included.  

“The UIW studio is a truly top-notch recording facility. No expense was spared and no corner was cut in the design and build of the space,” said Jaime Parker, music director of the Dimensions in Blue, United States Air Force Band of the West. “Our group was absolutely thrilled with every aspect of our experience: the acoustics, the facilities, the equipment—all were phenomenal. Not to mention the in-house engineer, whose knowledge and passion for the craft proved essential to our project. This beautiful studio is a proud addition to San Antonio’s recording arts scene, and I look forward to hearing the decades of fantastic sounds that will emerge from its cutting room!”

After the session, Waller and the bands concocted an idea about a big show that would incorporate both Air Force and UIW talent. Putting on a show of this scale, however, with Dimensions in Blue would be no simple endeavor. The military band’s big band jazz sound, which originated with the Glen Miller Army Air Corps band in the 1940s, is heavily in demand. They can be found on stages in venues from high schools and colleges to community and civic events throughout Texas, Oklahoma, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia and Florida.

The UIW Cardinal Jazz Band puts on a great show.

The UIW Cardinal Jazz Band puts on a great show.

Navigating a formal process, a little red tape and some vetting, the show was approved and the music team could focus on the tunes.

“We are doing a lot to prepare for this concert,” he said. The free concert scheduled for Thursday, May 3 at the Concert Hall, brings together the Dimensions in Blue band and the UIW Cardinal Jazz Band, which includes among its members UIW students and faculty as well as local professional musicians. The Jazz Band performs in shows throughout the city and on occasion, out of state.  The show is designed to highlight a selection of each group’s best numbers, one of which includes a piece arranged by Waller. “It’s going to be good.”

Don’t Miss It

UIW Jazz Ensemble Concert featuring Dimensions in Blue
Thursday, May 3, 7:30 p.m.
Concert Hall