Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History

Interview with Joel Lovan, September 25, 2015

Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries
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00:00:05 - Career summary / early music education

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Partial Transcript: It is Friday, September 25th, 2015. I'm sitting here in my house with Joel Lovan.

Segment Synopsis: Lovan briefly surveys his career in music, from private lessons and middle school band in western Kentucky, to music degrees and high school band instruction in central Kentucky. He also discusses how he came to choose the trombone as his instrument.

Keywords: Band camp; Georgetown College, Georgetown (Ky.); Greenville (Ky.); High school band; Madisonville (Ky.); Marching band; Music Education; Trombone; University of Kentucky

Subjects: Men of Note (Jazz group); Music--Instruction and study

00:04:04 - Joining the Men of Note

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Partial Transcript: Um, so how did you learn about the Men of Note, or maybe it's the other way around, how did they learn about you?

Segment Synopsis: Lovan discusses his introduction to the Men of Note and he lists a number of members present at the time he joined. Lovan comments on the interesting demographics of the group, which featured older, more music business-oriented players, as well as younger student musicians interested in gaining professional experience.

Keywords: 1970s; Bart Jones; Danny Eaton; Gary Davidson; Gigs; Jack Fife; Jack Risinger; Jim Broadus; Jim Smith; Junior Muncie; Phil Collier; Rehearsals; Rich Hillman; Teddy Enus; Tommy Martin; University of Kentucky; Wayne Collier

Subjects: Jazz musicians; University towns

00:07:45 - University bands / bass trombone

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Partial Transcript: Um, did you play in a UK jazz ensemble also at that time?

Segment Synopsis: Lovan discusses his time with University of Kentucky jazz bands, which were enriched by his concurrent participation in the Men of Note. Lovan also talks about his preference for the bass trombone rather than the usual tenor model.

Keywords: Bass trombone; Harmony; Instrumentation; Jay Flippan; Music majors; Trombone; University of Kentucky; Vince DiMartino

Subjects: Music--Instruction and study; Universities and colleges

00:10:15 - Favorite moments and people from the Men of Note

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Partial Transcript: So let's see, you, you stayed with the Men of Note until, until their dissolution, right?

Segment Synopsis: Lovan recalls a number of favorite moments and memories from the group. He also briefly describes the two times over forty years in which he left the band to perform elsewhere. Lovan recalls his friendship with Dr. James Broadus, who taught music at Transylvania and also played trombone in the Men of Note.

Keywords: Christmas party; Cruise ships; Gigs; Jim Broadus; Opryland, Nashville (Tenn.); Rich Ellman; Transylvania University; Wedding receptions

Subjects: Jazz musicians; Music--Instruction and study; Universities and colleges

00:14:34 - Favorite trombonists / orchestral vs. jazz playing

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Partial Transcript: Um, we'll come back to Jim in a minute.

Segment Synopsis: Lovan lists some famous jazz and symphony trombonists that influenced his development as a player. He also discusses the difference in equipment between jazz trombonists and orchestral trombonists, which has to do with the bore of the instrument.

Keywords: Bill Wattrous; Conn-Selmer, Inc.; J.J. Johnson; James Pugh; Kai Winding; King Instrument Company, Inc.; Large bore; Lexington Philharmonic; Orchestra; Randy Melton; Small bore; Sy Zentner; Tom Senff; University of Kentucky; Woody Herman

Subjects: Instrumentation and orchestration; Jazz musicians

00:17:32 - Mix of professional and amateur musicians

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Partial Transcript: Well let, let me go back to Jim Broadus here for a minute.

Segment Synopsis: Lovan discusses the composition of the Men of Note, in that some of the members were professional, academically-trained musicians, while others were merely playing as a hobby or diversion. Lovan notes that in spite of this diversity of experience, the band always sounded good and impressive to him. He also mentions a few other members with whom he keeps in contact.

Keywords: Bill Boyd; Day jobs; Elis Harkeroad; Jim Broadus; Professional musicians; Rich Elman; Student musicians; Wayne Collier

Subjects: Jazz musicians; Music--Instruction and study

00:22:00 - Memorable gigs / rehearsals

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Partial Transcript: Anything--like was there a--any particular job or several that we played that stood out or you thought were--

Segment Synopsis: Lovan names the Central Bank Christmas party and the wedding of Martha Layne Collins' son as two particularly memorable gigs with the Men of Note. He also comments on the group's rehearsals and why they decreased over the years.

Keywords: Central Bank, Lexington (Ky); Martha Layne Collins; Recession; Rehearsal; Transylvania University

Subjects: Jazz musicians

00:24:54 - Expansive tastes

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Partial Transcript: I've always thought, especially because of your experience with the Philharmonic, and, and even back when you were a student, you know, you seem to be interested in a broad spectrum of musical activity.

Segment Synopsis: Lovan notes that while he enjoyed his experience with the Men of Note and the Lexington Philharmonic, he has never identified one type of music as his favorite and he does not encourage people to do so. He talks about a rock-jazz style group he performed with in college.

Keywords: Apocrypha; Big band music; Blood, Sweat & Tears; Cary Cool; Cassette tapes; Chicago; Danny Keane; Disney; Improvisation; Jazz combos; Kevin Moor; New Glenn Miller Orchestra; Randy Burton; Rock and roll; Steve Walters; Styles; Tastes

Subjects: Jazz musicians; Rock music

00:28:13 - Audiences / styles / leaders

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Partial Transcript: Could you comment about, maybe the, the size of audiences over the years, the caliber of audiences, as far as, you know, did they listen more or less?

Segment Synopsis: Lovan discusses a number of topics, including the changes in audience and styles he noticed within his time in the Men of Note, which he notes were very few. He also lists the directors/leaders of the Men of Note that he knew in his time with the group.

Keywords: Audience size; Big band music; Byron Romanowitz; Charlie Blair; David Anderson; Jack Risinger; Wedding receptions

Subjects: Audience interaction; Band directors; Jazz musicians

00:31:05 - Playing today

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Partial Transcript: Alright. What do you see in the future for big bands, and jazz?

Segment Synopsis: Lovan expresses hope for the future of big band music, noting that while changing tastes and economics in music have diminished the music's popularity, there remains a substantial popular interest in the music. Lovan also discusses a number of other musical groups in which he performs.

Keywords: Advocate Brass Band; Apocrypha; Church musicians; Commercial popularity; Great American Brass Band Festival, Danville (Ky.); Lexington Brass Band; Lexington Philharmonic; Mahler Symphony No. 2; Norman Rockwell; Recession; The Advocate-Messenger; The Metronomes; University of Kentucky Alumni Band; University of Kentucky Marching Band

Subjects: Americana; Jazz musicians; Music--Instruction and study; Symphony orchestras

00:37:39 - Final comments on Lexington

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Partial Transcript: Here, let me ask you kind of a, uh, philosophical question, I suppose.

Segment Synopsis: Lovan discusses the support given to both the Philharmonic and groups like the Men of Note by the city of Lexington, and residents that have supported both groups. He also comments favorably on the state of music education as he sees it, noting that the skills of his private students have actually improved recently.

Keywords: Audiences; Lexington (Ky.); Lexington Philharmonic; Men of Note; Music education; Trombone studio

Subjects: Jazz musicians; Music--Instruction and study