This was my first tune of my first concert with the One O’Clock Lab Band. It was around October 8th in the lab band hall. There must have been 200 people there–it was standing room only and they lined the walls to hear the new version of the One O’Clock Lab Band. We had 15 out of 20 new members that year, so it was not just my first concert with the band. My parents and Susan were there, sitting on the 5th row, or so. The band roared out of the gate with this first tune. I’ll never forget the feeling that day. It finally felt like I had found my path in life, and there was no other place I wanted to be.
Leon Breeden had a way of challenging you. First of all, we had probably only played through this tune a time, or two, in rehearsal. I do remember rehearsing it at a band member’s house on the weekend, as well as extra rehearsals called by the band members after hours. These guys wanted to sound good, so extra rehearsals on our own time was fine with everyone. I liked the attitude. We all had a lot of pride in our work. Anyway, Mr.Breeden had a whole set of tunes we hadn’t played very much. He wanted everyone to be pushed, and in public, too. It made you a better musician to be pushed to your limit in public. He even had us sightread on concerts without telling the audience we were sight reading! They never knew we were hoping not to fall apart, and we never did.
Another thing he would do was to kick off tunes faster than we ever rehearsed them in practice. Listen to the tempo on this tune and the sax section soli. Even I was impressed they kept it together. That’s my friend, Roger Dismore on the lead alto, holding it together.
This band was exciting and it had power. Chuck Schmidt was on lead trumpet, and was as powerful as anyone who ever played that chair. He went on the play lead with Buddy Rich for over a year in 1977-78. Most of the rhythm section went out with Woody Herman the next year, and in-between semesters two of the trumpets in the section were replaced, or quit. I think they were replaced!
There was a lot of pressure to make and stay in the band. There were over 150 trumpet players who tried out, for example, and they all wanted to move up if you could not handle the situation. Everyday you were on trial, but that’s just the way it is in the real world, so it prepared us.
By the way, the picture in the video is from that concert. Ron Fink was on the faculty at North Texas and at the concert that day and sent it to me a couple of years ago. Also, my friend, Roger, recorded the concert with his open reel tape deck. Thanks to Roger for thinking of that! Pete Brewer is on the tenor sax solo, Pat Coil (who has just been hired to teach at UNT) on piano solo, and I don’t know who was playing the trombone solo. It could have been any one of three of the tenor trombone players.