VCU Jazz CDs

Leap of Faith (2013)



Front Burner (2012)









Second Race



Blood Count

Front Burner

No Waddi (Is it Far?)

Armando’s Big Band

Swingin’ for the Fences


Some Graffiti on the A Train


Of VCU Jazz’s seven recordings in the last 30 years, this is the only the second that was recorded entirely live before an audience and without a single overdub or intercut. There was no going back, no retakes, no extra opportunities — this is who we are and how we perform.

This CD is humbly dedicated to Sammy Nestico — an unparalleled composer and arranger, friend to jazz education and friend to all he meets. Although this CD includes only one of his works, his music is present in any semester of VCU Jazz concerts.

“Front Burner” is available by mail-order at www.cdbaby.com/cd/vcujazzstudies. Local concert-goers may also choose to preorder it for their personal pickup at a VCU Music concert (no mail delivery) at https://www.showclix.com/event/leapoffaithCD.








A Joyful Noise (2008)


Guest artists Wycliffe Gordon and Steve Wilson and VCU faculty member Rex Richardson

VCU Jazz Orchestra I Director: Antonio J. García
Guest director: Taylor Barnett

Woodwinds: Jonathan Gibson (alto, flute), David Hood (alto, flute), John Lilley (tenor), Jason Arce (tenor, soprano), Jason Mathias (baritone)
Trumpets and flugelhorns: Rob Quallich (lead), Marcus Tenney, Jared Broussard (lead flugelhorn on track four, lead trumpet on track five), Ian Magee
Trombones: Andrew Horton, Alex Powers, Dillard Watt, Reginald Chapman (bass trombone)
Rhythm: Karl Morse (guitar), Shang-Cheng Lin (piano), David Ashby (bass), Devonne Harris (drums), Antonio García (claves on track two)

Small Jazz Ensemble
Director: Tony Martucci
Personnel: Jon Gibson (alto sax), John Lilley (tenor sax), Marcus Tenney (trumpet), Karl Morse (guitar), David Ashby (bass), and Devonne Harris (drums)

Faculty Jazz Septet
Skip Gailes (tenor sax), Rex Richardson (trumpet and flugelhorn), Antonio García (trombone), Mike Ess (guitar), Bob Hallahan (piano), Victor Dvoskin (bass), Rusty Farmer (bass, Track 9 only), and Tony Martucci (drums)


No intercuts, remixes or overdubs were made within any selection. Tracks one through eight were recorded by Mark Custom Recording directly to two ambient microphones in the Grand Ballroom of the Chicago Hilton.

  1. Ya Gotta Try (3:14)
  2. Sunny Ray (6:46)
  3. Don’t be Afraid, the Clown’s Afraid, Too (9:48)
  4. A Joyful Noise (9:27)
  5. Green Onions (10:02)
  6. Black, Brown and Beautiful (4:28)
  7. 8/4 Beat (6:41)
  8. Beyond All Limits (6:37)
  9. Bright Moments (7:28)|
  10. The Core (11:43)

Credits & Acknowledgements

  • Executive producer – Antonio García
  • Engineer – Fred Betchen (tracks 1-8) and Curt Blankenship (tracks 9-10)
  • Mastering – Disc Makers
  • Graphics and layout – Antonio García

I express my appreciation to Wycliffe Gordon, Rex Richardson, Steve Wilson and Taylor Barnett; JO road manager Ballard Midyette; all VCU Music faculty; Linda Johnston, Tiffanie Chan, Racquel Wallace and Curt Blankenship (VCU Music staff); John Guthmiller, chair, VCU Department of Music; John Patykula, assistant chair; Richard Toscan, dean, VCU School of the Arts; VCU President Eugene Trani, Ph.D.; contributors to the VCU Jazz Students Fund; my wife, Mary; The Midwest Clinic; and Mark Custom Recording, Inc. The VCU Jazz Studies Program is a remarkable family of faculty and students within the team that is the Department of Music. It is an honor to serve with them.








It Could Happen To You  (2002)


The VCU Jazz Studies Program’s 2002 CD, “It Could Happen to You,” features our Jazz Orchestra I ensemble, one of our small jazz ensembles and our Faculty Jazz Septet. Also included are two performances with guest New York trumpet soloist Brian Lynch, whose credits include the Horace Silver Quintet, Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers, Eddie Palmieri and Prince.

VCU Jazz Orchestra I

Director: Antonio García

Woodwinds: Colin Killalea (alto, soprano and vibraslap) Mike Jacob (alto, soprano, flute and maracas), Matt Scott (tenor and claves), Bryan Taylor (tenor and agogo bells) and Tony Forgey (baritone, clarinet and shaker)
Trumpets and flugelhorns: Nick Panos (lead), Taylor Barnett (lead flugelhorn on track four), Michael Isler and Mark Ingraham
Trombones: Sam Savage, David Brogan, Mark Blankenship and Chris Neal (bass trombone).
Rhythm: Trey Pollard (guitar), Ryan Corbitt (piano), Curtis Fye (bass) and Robby Sinclair (drums), plus Jessica Keeton (marimba) and Kelli Strawbridge (triangle and conga) on track three

VCU Small Jazz Ensemble

Director: Skip Gailes

Saxophone: Colin Killalea (alto/tenor), Matt Scott (tenor) and Bryan Taylor (tenor)
Trumpet: Taylor Barnett
Trombone: Sam Savage
Guitar: Trey Pollard
Piano: Daniel Clarke
Bass: Curtis Fye
Drums: Robby Sinclair

VCU Faculty Jazz Septet

Tenor: Skip Gailes
Trumpet: Dontae Winslow
Trombone: Antonio García
Guitar: Mike Ess
Piano: Bob Hallahan
Bass: Victor Dvoskin
Drums: Howard Curtis


  1. Daahoud
  2. Peri’s Scope
  3. Adios, Blackbird!
  4. Samoana
  5. Blues In Hoss’ Flat
  6. It Could Happen To You
  7. Blue Moon
  8. Splat 9
  9. Sunday Morning Blues
  10. 2040 A.D.
  11. Wyth A Why
  12. Fast Friends

Credits & Acknowledgements

  • Producer – Antonio García
  • Engineer – Curt Blankenship
  • Mastering – Disc Makers
  • Graphics and layout – Antonio García
  • Layout assistant – Nanci Oliver
  • Artwork – “Red Trombonist,” by Holly Seon-Wilson

I wish to sincerely thank the following people for their contributions to this project: Matt Catingub for his complimentary use of “Samoana” (available from Walrus Music); Holly Seon-Wilson for her complimentary use of the painting “Red Trombonist;” Brian Lynch for his charts and performance; Larry Dwyer at the University of Notre Dame for his live recording; Curt Blankenship, engineer and colleague par excellence; W.E. Singleton and Jamey Aebersold for their support; all Jazz Students Fund contributors; my wife, María, for her patience and understanding; all VCU music faculty, especially Donald Bick for use of his studio’s marimba and Jazz Studies founder Doug Richards, who has influenced all on this recording; Linda Johnston, JoAnne Welling and Brooke Kingsley, VCU music staff; Amy Singleton and John Bryan, VCU Arts development; Joseph Seipel, associate dean, VCU School of the Arts; John Guthmiller, chair, VCU Department of Music; Richard Toscan, dean, VCU School of the Arts; and VCU President Eugene Trani, Ph.D. The VCU Jazz Studies Program is a remarkable family of faculty and students within the team that is the Department of Music. It is an honor to serve with them.

— Antonio García, director of VCU Jazz Studies


The CD has three live and nine studio cuts with nine works composed or arranged by VCU students and faculty. No intercuts or overdubs were made within any selection.

“It Could Happen to You” is available at CDBaby.com or (800) BUY-MY-CD with any major credit or debit card. You can also find the CD locally at Plan 9 music stores at (804) 353-9996.