By EVAN SIEGEL
The University of Miami Frost School of Music has enjoyed tremendous success since its founding decades ago. Notable artists such as Pat Metheny, Jonathan Kreisburg, Emilia Estefan, and many others were part of the school’s prestigious jazz studies department. The school has developed a consistent partnership with WDNA radio, the local jazz radio outlet in South Florida. The show has recently begun its 10th year on the radio.
Every Thursday at 11 a.m., the radio station produces the Frost Jazz Hour, hosted by Chuck Bergeron, a bass professor at the school and former member of the classic Woody Herman Big Band. For an hour each week, various ensembles, student-led groups, and alumni perform over the radio to a consistent following of listeners. This past Thursday, the Frost Jazz Octet performed to a live audience as well as thousands of listeners over a radio signal radius that stretches from West Palm Beach to Key Largo.
The octet, which features five horn players and a guitar trio, showcased five songs that the group had been arranging and rehearsing all semester long. The group is led by professor Dante Luciani, a trombone professor who conducted the Frost Concert Jazz band for 12 years before recently Grammy-awarded Dean John Daversa began conducting the large ensemble.
Luciani has been one of the most successful musicians in the business for decades now. Jazz trombone legends such as Curtis Fulelr and Frank Rosolino were considerable influences on the remarkably accomplished Luciani, who has performed with jazz giants Dizzy Gillespie, Frank Sinatra, and countless others. The group includes one of Luciani’s personal trombone students, and others from different instrumental studios throughout the department.
The Frost Jazz Hour has featured vocal groups, instrumental ensembles, a capella groups, ad faculty concerts. The broadcast has become part of the canon of the jazz scene in greater Miami and indeed throughout larger parts of Florida as a whole. The Frost School of Music can be heard over F.C.C. airwaves every Thursday from 11 a.m. to noon.