Girish Mahajan (Editor)

One O'Clock Lab Band

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Years active  1948–present
Active from  1948
Genres  Jazz, Big band
Record label  North Texas Jazz
One O'Clock Lab Band httpss3amazonawscomcontentsitezooglecomu

Albums  Lab 2011, Lab 75, Lab 2010
Nominations  Grammy Award for Best Large Jazz Ensemble Album
Similar  Steve Wiest, Wayne Bergeron, Alan Baylock, Leon Breeden, Denis DiBlasio

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The One O’Clock Lab Band for 69 years has been the premier ensemble of the Jazz Studies Division at the University of North Texas College of Music in Denton. The band has performed and toured in Australia, Canada, England, Finland, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Russia, Switzerland, Thailand, and The Netherlands. Since the 1970s, the band’s albums have received seven Grammy nominations, including two for Lab 2009. Steve Wiest, a three-time Grammy-nominated composer-arranger-director and Associate Professor of Music, directed the O'Clock Lab Band from 2008 through the summer of 2014. Jay Saunders, a veteran of the Stan Kenton Orchestra, has been interim director since 2014. The One O’Clock is the highest of nine peer lab bands at the college, each named for its hour of rehearsal and each a standard 19-piece big band instrumentation — five saxophones, five trombones, five trumpets, piano, guitar, bass, and drums. The One O'Clock evolved from an extracurricular stage band founded in 1927 into a curricular laboratory dance band in 1947, when North Texas launched the first jazz degree program in the world. For the next 20 years — until 1967 — North Texas was the only US university that offered a degree in jazz studies.


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The "Lab Band" portion of the name is drawn from the its original long name – "Laboratory Dance Band." Gene Hall, the founding director, coined the phrase in 1946. "Laboratory" signified the school's practical curricular application of artistic disciplines in various music settings such as ensembles, small chamber groups, bands, orchestras, choirs, keyboard ensembles, and guitar ensembles. "Dance" was dropped in the early 1960s, to reflect the wider developing aspects of big band music. The academic degree name, "Dance Band," however, stood until 1978, when it was renamed "Jazz Education" and renamed again in 1981 as "Jazz Studies."

Leon Breeden (1921–2010) presided when "The One O'Clock" was added as part of the official name in the early 1960s. North Texas has several lab bands, each bearing the name of their respective rehearsal times.

When Leon Breeden took over the Lab Band Program in 1959, there were four lab bands, then referred to as "Units:" One O'Clock, Two O'Clock, Three O'Clock, and Five O'Clock. At that time, the Two O'Clock was the premier band, known as Laboratory Dance Band A.

Stage band

Beginning in 1927, new faculty member Floyd Graham began directing and emceeing Saturday night stage shows at North Texas State Teachers College, planning the programs and holding auditions every Saturday afternoon for prospective entertainers. Years earlier, as early as 1923, WBAP Fort Worth broadcast a nationally syndicated show of the stage band, which then was a twenty-two-piece orchestra, on Friday nights directed by James Willis Smith (1875–1937), professor of mathematics at North Texas from 1908 to 1927.

The Stage Band (1927-mid-1930s) served as a proving ground for Ann Sheridan, Joan Blondell, and Louise Tobin. Actress Nancy Jane Gates first performed with the Stage Band in 1929, when she was three, and continued singing through graduation from Denton High School. The Moonbeams, a quartet of four female vocalists, got their start with the Saturday night stage show in 1946. Two years later, they were touring with the Vaughn Monroe Band as the Moonmaids.

Charter Members from 1927 Stage Band

  • Joseph Bailey Woodrum, Jr. (1909–1990), drums
  • John Brown, bass
  • Notable Members from the Fall 1940 Stage Band

    SaxophonesTromboneTrumpetsViolinRhythm section

    Other members

    Note † Capt. James Richard Allen was missing in action at sea, World War II  

    Aces of Collegeland

    The Aces, under the directorship of Floyd Graham, evolved out of the Saturday Night Stage Shows, which were presented weekly from 1927 to 1961. Annually, from 1962 to 1970, the Aces, together with other acts, traveled and performed for civic organizations, veterans’ hospitals, WFAA radio, and Texas military bases. The Aces of Collegeland was never offered for academic credit.

    The Lab Band: Voice of America Jazz Hour

    Willis Conover (1920–1996), jazz host on Voice of America, broadcast six nights a week to an audience that, at the peak of the Cold War, was estimated to be 30 million regular listeners in Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union — and as many as 100 million worldwide. Conover, who had heard the One O'Clock Lab Band several times, including as judge at the 1960 Notre Dame Jazz Festival (when Leonard Bernstein was on the festival's board), asked Leon Breeden, in 1967, for recordings of certain numbers. Later that year, Conover featured the One O'Clock Lab Band in an hour broadcast to an estimated audience of 40 million. Every year thereafter, the One O’Clock supplied a professional quality studio engineered album to Conover.

    Jazz was, as Mr. Conover liked to say, "the music of freedom;" and to those who had no freedom, it became a metaphor of hope. Conover was known as the most famous American virtually no American had ever heard of. By law, the Voice of America broadcasts — broadcasts that made him a household name in Europe, Asia and Latin America — could not be beamed to the United States, where Mr. Conover was known mainly to dedicated jazz fans.

    Recent albums

  • Lab 2009 — OCLC 501845958
  • Liner notes; Video Montage
    1. "Sno Peas," composed by Phil Markowitz and arranged by Richard DeRosa
    2. "Dark Matters," composed by Dave Richards
    3. "Another Other," composed by Neil Slater
    4. "Li'l Darlin'," composed by Neal Hefti and arranged by Kevin Swaim
    5. "Unformal," composed by Dave Richards
    6. "Time Sensitive," composed by Neil Slater
    7. "Here Comes McBride," composed by Dave Brubeck and arranged by Dave Richards
    8. "November," composed by John Guari
    9. "Ice-Nine," composed by Steve Wiest
  • Lab 2010 was released late August 2010 — OCLC 671237830
  • Liner notes; Montage
    1. "House of Cards" (video), Kevin Swaim
    2. "Not Yet", Neil Slater
    3. "The Oracle" (video), Kevin Swaim
    4. "New Cydonia" (video), Steve Wiest
    5. "Fly Me to the Moon," Bart Howard, arr. Tierney Sutton, adapt. Dave Richards
    6. "Prime Directive," Dave Holland, arr. Josh Dresser
    7. "Newport," Slide Hampton
    8. "Pretzel Logic," Walter Becker and Donald Fagen, arr. Fred Sturm
    9. "Sword Fight," Dave Richards
  • Lab 2011 was released late August 11, 2011 (CD &DVD) — OCLC 774025959
  • HD Video Montage
    1. "Modus Operandy" (video), composed by Michael Brecker, arranged by Kevin Swaim
    2. "Duplicity," composed and arranged by Colin Campbell
    3. "Perseverance," composed and arranged by Richard DeRosa
    4. "Hip Pickles," composed and arranged by Lou Marini, Jr.
    5. "Nail in the Coffin," composed and arranged by Kevin Swaim
    6. "Doublethink," composed and arranged by Sean Nelson
    7. "Yesterdays" (video), music Jerome Kern, lyrics by Otto Harbach, arranged by Bill Holman
    8. "Special Interests," composed and arranged by Neil Slater
    9. "The Last Theme Song," by Steve Wiest
  • Lab 2012 (CD)
  • Miles Of Shades (video)Montage
    1. "Be That Way," by Tyler Mire
    2. "Abby Song," by Jenny Kellogg
    3. "Shiny Stockings," by Frank Foster
    4. "The Fifth Shade," by Steve Wiest
    5. "The Sparrow Was Gone in an Instant," by Aaron Hedenstrom
    6. "Fugue for Thought," by Richard DeRosa
    7. "From Above," by Aaron Hedenstrom
    8. "3rd & 55th," by Neil Slater
    9. "Race to the Finish," by Drew Zaremba
  • Lab 2013 – An Homage to Denton, Texas: "Jazz Town, USA" (CD)
  • Montage
    1. "Take the 'A' Train," by Billy Strayhorn, arranged by Richard DeRosa
    2. "Old West," by Aaron Hedenstrom
    3. "Somewhere on the 33rd Parallel," Keith Karns
    4. "Denton Standard Time," by Steve Wiest
    5. "As Time Goes By," by Herman Hupfeld, arranged by Drew Zaremba
    6. "Will or Would?" by Neil Slater
    7. "The Square," by Keith Karns
    8. "Honeybee," by Aaron Hedenstrom
    9. "Traffic Jam," by Jenny Kellogg


    The band has a history of yearly studio recordings dating back to the 1967, known simply by the title Lab 'XX, the two-digit abbreviation being the year in which the 20th-century recording was made (ex. "Lab '85" or "Lab '00"); in the case of 21st-century recordings, the year is not abbreviated (ex. "Lab 2001" or "Lab 2006.")

    Selections include performances directed by Gene Hall and Leon Breeden

  • Circa 1960s, (CD 2005) (90th Floor Records | SSL907)
  • The first 5 tracks are of Gene Hall's last concert as director of the Laboratory Dance Band program at North Texas State College, April 17, 1959; the other tracks were recorded in the early 1960s. This was the first Lab Band recording in both HiFi and Stereo.

    Directed by Leon Breeden

  • North Texas Lab Band, (LP 1961) (90th Floor Records | SLL904)
  • SaxophonesTrombonesTrumpetsRhythm sectionSpecial musiciansAlbum cover (backside) notes by Stan Kenton
  • Stan Kenton Presents The North Texas Lab Band, (LP 1961) (90th Floor Records | SSL904)]
  • The Road to Stan (recorded 1961, released 2009) (90th Floor Records | SLL916)
  • The "Swingphonic Sounds" of Sammy Nestico (LP 1969) (Mark Ensemble Series | MES32244)
  • Directed by Leon Breeden (continued)

  • Lab '67 (CD)
  • Lab '68 (CD)
  • Lab '69 (CD)
  • Lab '70 (CD)
  • Lab '71 (CD)
  • 12 by 3 - Creative Jazz Composers (1972) (album demo for Creative Jazz Composers, Inc., produced by Mundell Lowe)
  • Lab '72 (2 CDs) (25 yr commemorative)
  • Lab '73 (CD)
  • Lab '74 (CD)
  • Lab '75 (CD) (Grammy nomination sample)
  • Lab '76 (CD) (Grammy nomination)
  • Lab '77 – All Cows Eat Grass (CD)
  • Jazz at Spoleto 1977 (LP | Left Bank Jazz Society LB 2692)
  • Lab '78 (CD)
  • Lab '79 (CD)
  • Lab '80 (CD)
  • Dedicated to the late John Park, saxophonist
  • Lab '81 (2 CDs)
  • Directed by Neil Slater

  • Lab '82 (CD)
  • Backcover by Leonard Feather
  • European Tour 82 – Live at Montreux
  • Lab '83 (CD)
  • With Respect to Stan (CD)
  • Lab '84 (CD)
  • Lab '85 (CD)
  • Live in Australia – The 1986 Tour (CD)
  • Lab '86 (CD)
  • Lab '87 (CD)
  • Lab '88 (CD)
  • Lab '89 (CD)
  • Lab '90 (CD)
  • Lab '91 (CD) (Grammy nomination)
  • Lab '92 (CD)
  • Lab '93 (CD)
  • Live in Portugal '93 (CD)
  • Lab '94 (CD)
  • Lab '95 (CD) sample
  • Lab '96 (CD) sample
  • One O'Clock Standard Time: Remembering Gene Hall (CD) sample
  • Lab '97 (CD)
  • North Texas Jazz: 50 Years (4 CDs)
  • Lab '98 (CD)
  • Lab '99 (CD) sample
  • Lab '00 (CD) The Eipper
  • Lab 2001 (CD)
  • Kenny Wheeler at North Texas (2 CDs)
  • Lab 2002 (CD)
  • Lab 2003 (CD)
  • Lab 2004 (CD)
  • Lab 2005 (CD)
  • Lab 2006 (CD)
  • Lab 2007 (CD/DVD)
  • Live from Thailand (CD/DVD)
  • Lab 2008 (CD)
  • Live at Blues Alley (2 CDs)
  • Directed by Steve Wiest

  • Lab 2009 (CD) sample
  • Lab 2010 (CD)
  • Lab 2011 (CD & DVD)
  • Lab 2012 (CD & DVD)
  • Lab 2013 (CD)
  • Lab 2014 (CD)
  • Directed by Jay Saunders

  • Lab 2015 (CD)
  • Lab 2016 (CD)
  • Compilations

  • The Best of the One O'Clock (1992)
    1. Lab 75 was the first nomination bestowed by the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences (NARAS) to a student group All arrangements and original compositions on the album were by Lyle Mays, who also played keyboards on the album. By vote, members of the One O'Clock selected all the compositions. This was and still is the only time that an entire Lab Band album has been composed and arranged by a single student member.
    2. "Got a Match" was arranged by Mike Bogle (UNT MM/Jazz '87 MM/Mas '89). The original composition was by Chick Corea.
    3. "Values" was composed and arranged by Neil Slater.

    Major tours, festivals & concerts

    The One O'Clock has performed at music festivals around the world including Australia, Canada, Finland, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Russia, Switzerland, Thailand and the Netherlands. The One also performed often at the annual IAJE conference.

    Under the direction of Gene Hall

  • 1952 — Awarded Fifth Place in a nationwide contest for the best college dance band
  • Spring 1956 — "The Five Front Combo," an 8-member group (directed by Gene Hall) from the Lab Bands, appeared on NBC's Steve Allen "Tonight" show broadcast from Fort Worth
  • Nov 23, 1958, 7 to 7:30 PM — In the pre-FM Radio days, the Lab Band, under the direction of Gene Hall performed the region’s first live stereo broadcast (from Fort Worth), using two microphones, one to KFJZ-TV (Channel 11) and one to KFJZ radio 1270 AM. The producers instructed listeners to turn on both their radio and TV and place them 8 feet apart. The band performed seven arrangements (stage manager, Jack Harris; broadcast producer, Buddy Turner)
  • 1959 — Awarded Third Place in a contest among 183 bands for "Best New Dance Band of 1959" sponsored by the American Federation of Musicians and the National Ballroom Operators Association, reaching the finals on May 11, 1959, at Roseland Dance City in New York City. It was the only college band of the final field of four. A Los Angeles group – the Claude Gordon Orchestra (with North Texas ex-student Cecil Hill in the saxophone section) – won First Place.
  • Under the direction of Leon Breeden

  • Summer 1960 — Notre Dame Collegiate Jazz Festival; the Lab Band was Awarded Finest Jazz Group and Best Big Band and Marv Stamm was awarded best instrumentalist and trumpet player.
  • Aug 14-28, 1960 — The Lab Band was the demonstration band at the Stan Kenton National Band Camp held at Indiana University
  • Summer 1961 — Notre Dame Collegiate Jazz Festival; the Lab Band was Awarded Finest Jazz Group and Best Big Band; Morgan Powell won Most Promising Trombone Award. Outstanding Soloists Awards given to Tom Wirtel, Trumpet; Toby Guynn, Bass; and Don Gililland, Guitar.
  • Summer 1962 — Notre Dame Collegiate Jazz Festival
  • 1967 — Concert tour of Mexico, sponsored by the US State Department Office of Cultural Presentations.
  • June 27, 1967 — After a 30-day concert tour, the One O'Clock Performed at a White House dinner for President and Mrs. Lyndon B. Johnson and the King and Queen of Thailand, King Bhumibol Adulyadej (1927–2016) and Queen Sirikit (born 1932). In 2003, the University of North Texas awarded His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej of Thailand an Honorary Doctorate in Music. During the White House performance, Duke Ellington performed with the One O'Clock, playing "Take the A Train" Stan Getz also performed with the One O'Clock at the White House.
  • Summer 1970 — Served as the official Big Band of the Montreux Jazz Festival in June, the One O'Clock performed throughout Europe during a three-week concert tour.
  • Summer 1973 — Serving again as the official Jazz Internatale Demonstration Big Band of the Montreux Jazz Festival, the One O'Clock toured from July 2 to July 24, performing in Vienna and Munich.
  • December 9, 1973 — At the request of Tony Bennett, the One performed with him in a live telecast from San Antonio
  • Fall 1974 — In an experiment that enjoyed success, The One O'Clock Lab Band entered into a three-month contract to be the weekend (Fri-Sun) house band at a Dallas dinner club, which was part of an 11-leveled discothèque owned by Ronald Jackie Monesson (1930–1995) called "Oz" at 5429 LBJ Freeway. What amounted to a full scholarship, Lab Band members were paid slightly above union wages.
  • 1976 June 3-July 8 — The One O'Clock Lab Band toured the Soviet Union (Moscow, Volgograd, and Yerevan), Portugal, and England — 5 cities, 25 concerts, 77 encores, 82,800 people. The tour was sponsored by the US Department of State as part of a US Bicentennial goodwill arts outreach. NBC broadcast the One O'Clock's July 4 Concert live from Moscow as part of its US Bicentennial commemorative. While on tour, members of the band held jam sessions with musicians from Moscow, Volgograd, and Yerevan. Breeden submitted to Soviet authorities a list of 96 arrangements, with descriptions, representing 10 hours of music intended for two-hour concerts. Without explanation, Soviet censors strictly prohibited two arrangements, St. Thomas (by Sonny Rollins, arranged by Gene Glover) and Mi Burrito (by Raymond Harry Brown). Without announcing the names of the arrangements, the band played both pieces during its July 4 NBC satellite broadcast without incident. The tour came at the request of a visitor from the Kremlin who had been treated to four performances intended to exemplify US excellence in the arts — first the Metropolitan Opera, then the rock group Chicago, then a ballet company, then the One O'Clock. While the One O'Clock performed in Soviet cities where no American cultural group had performed, they were met by fans who knew the band from broadcasts by the Voice of America and Radio Free Europe. Willis Conover, jazz host on Voice of America, was a judge at the 1960 Notre Dame Collegiate Jazz Festival in 1960. (see Conover Collection at UNT) The tour group included the first woman band member, Bev Dahlke (now Dahlke-Smith) (baritone sax).
  • Summer 1977 — Spoleto Festival USA, Charleston, SC; the One O'Clock Lab Band, Phil Woods, Louie Bellson, Urbie Green, and Johnny Helms were the performers invited to perform jazz at first-ever Spoleto festival in the Americas. Since its 1958 founding in Italy by Gian Carlo Menotti, jazz had never been performed at a Spoleto event. Since its US spinoff debut in 1977 — Spoleto USA — jazz has played an integral role in what has become the largest performing arts festival in the Americas, dwarfing its Old World parent.
  • Summer 1978 — Spoleto Festival USA, Charleston, SC
  • Summer 1979 — Spoleto Festival USA, Charleston, SC; the One O'Clock received featured billing along with Buddy Rich, Phil Woods, and Woody Herman
  • Under the direction of Neil Slater

  • Summer 1996 — The One O'Clock performed during a three-week tour of Japan and spent a week in Hong Kong.
  • July 2008 — The One O'Clock performed at major jazz festivals in western Europe, including the Montreux Jazz Festival, in Montreux, Switzerland, the North Sea Jazz Festival in Rotterdam, Netherlands, and the Umbria Jazz Festival, in Perugia, Umbria, Italy. The tour also included performances at venues in Brienz, Switzerland, Vienne, France, and Rüdesheim, Germany.
  • Under the direction of Steve Wiest

  • March 2009 — The One O'Clock performed at Birdland, New York. This was the One O'Clock's New York debut under the direction of Steve Wiest.
  • July 2009 — The One O'Clock performed at the World Saxophone Congress XV in Bangkok, Thailand with James Carter and UNT alumnus Brad Leali
  • January and February 2010 — The University of North Texas One O'Clock Lab Band toured California while attending the 2010 Grammys
  • Notable One O'Clock alumni

    1924-1937 – Stage Band, Dance Band, Pit Orchestra; 1937-1949 – The Aces of Collegeland

  • Herb Ellis (1921–2010)
  • Eugene Hall (1913–1993)
  • William F. Lee III
  • William Ennis Thomson
  • 1947-1959 – Laboratory Dance Bands

  • Jack Alexander
  • Larry Austin
  • Harry Babasin (1921–1988)
  • Euel Box
  • Herb Ellis
  • Jimmy Giuffre (1921–2008)
  • Bob Hames
  • William F. Lee III
  • Jack Petersen
  • Gene Roland (1921–1982)
  • Ed Summerlin (1928–2006)
  • William Ennis Thomson
  • 1959–1969 One O'Clock Lab Band

  • Dee Barton (1937–2001)
  • David Breeden (1946–2005)
  • Bruce Fowler
  • James A. Hall
  • Billy Harper
  • David Hungate
  • Tom "Bones" Malone
  • Lou Marini
  • Dean Parks
  • Jim Riggs
  • Jay Saunders
  • Ed Soph
  • Marvin Stamm
  • Bill Stapleton (1945–1984)
  • Lanny Steele (1933–1994)
  • 1970s

  • Ashley Alexander (1934–1988)
  • Bob Belden
  • Leonard Candelaria
  • James Chirillo
  • Steve Duke
  • Conrad Herwig
  • Marc Johnson
  • Bubba Kolb
  • Lyle Mays
  • Jim Milne
  • John B. Riley
  • Ray Sasaki
  • Mike Smith
  • David Stockburger (tenor saxophonist)
  • Bill Stapleton (1945–1984)
  • Frederick I. Sturm
  • 1980s

  • Gregg Bissonette
  • Matt Bissonette
  • Mike Bogle
  • Zachary Breaux
  • Earl Harvin
  • Dave Pietro
  • Tim Ries
  • Jim Snidero
  • Steve Wiest
  • Mike Williams
  • 1990s

  • Tom Brantley
  • Scott Englebright
  • Zack Hexum
  • Ari Hoenig
  • Lee Tomboulian
  • Frank Basile
  • 2000s

  • Luke McMillan
  • Chris McQueen
  • Student & faculty composers/arrangers for the One O'Clock (non-members)

  • 1950: Fisher Tull
  • 1960s: Frank Mantooth
  • 1970s: Rich Matteson
  • Songs

    The Last Theme Song2011
    New CydoniaLab 2010 · 2010
    Modus Operandy2011


    One O'Clock Lab Band Wikipedia