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On the Fringe of Fire—The Music of George Gershwin without Boundaries

Arranger and Trumpeter Bill Lucas Leads the Project

Arranger and Trumpeter Bill Lucas Leads the Project

George Gershwin was among the world’s first “Crossover Artists,” a master of not only opera, stage, and screen, but as well, of melding the styles of popular jazz with those more traditionally identified in the symphonic orchestra. As such, his music invites new and fresh interpretation, while still retaining the essence of Gershwin’s own artistic identity.

Jazz trumpet professor Bill Lucas leads the project and points out:

“As a Symphonic musician with serious jazz roots, it is often difficult to have to play Gershwin’s music within the orchestra, so straight laced, without any of the tools a jazz musician is accustomed to using, and for which Gershwin’s music lends itself so perfectly. To me, Gershwin’s music, like Mozart, needs to breathe, needs to swing and when it does, it is showcased at its best. When you allow the possibilities to happen, the possibilities are endless and the music really blooms.”


Viewed from the Audio Booth: Bill Lucas solos from within the Lighthouse Brass

Our newly launched recording effort titled “On the Fringe of Fire” is a multi-discipline project realizing the music of George Gershwin in new and innovative ways, and in ways only approachable by a select few musicians. Melding the styles of jazz, traditional classical and classical-jazz, this project is a chamber music showcase for those “crossover” musicians who find no boundaries between these styles of music.

Showcasing the efforts of arranger and trumpeter Bill Lucas, the disc also features notable musicians, including bassist Paul Keller, drummer Pete Siers, pianists (U-M Professor) Ellen Rowe and Phil Kelly and the saxophones of (U-M Professor) Andrew Bishop. Additionally the Lighthouse Brass Quintet makes its recording debut by melding the talents of trumpeters Rich Stoezel and (U-M Professor) Bill Lucas, the french horn of Bryan Kennedy, trombonist (U-M Professor) Dave Jackson and the tuba of Matt Brown. Produced by composer Kristin Kuster and recorded by Dave Greenspan at the Duderstadt Recording Studios on the north campus of the University of Michigan, the recording features the arrangements of Greg Simon, Jim Stephenson, and Bill Lucas.

On the Fringe of Fire is a testament to the genius of George Gershwin, but also to the notion that musicianship need not be limited to any one genre and can apply to a broad range of concepts and style. The disc is currently in post-production and slated for release in February of 2014; stay tuned to this site for more information about our release party and performance!