The Aerie, Yearbook of University of North Texas, 1990 Page: 93
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70WBE ~Named after the hours during which they rehearse.
the nine lab bands have contributed to NT's reputation as a leader
in the jazz field locally and around the world
A round the world, when most people
think of NT, they think of the jazz
program, and particularly of the One
O'Clock Lab Band. NT's reputation as
a leader in the jazz field is well deserved, and is
built upon a long tradition of excellence. In
1942, Gene Hall began what is now the jazz
studies program. He agreed to teach a course
in dance band arranging
to a small group of stu-
dents, and in 1947, this
blossomed into a degree
program. Until 1942, NT
had what was called the
"Aces of College Land,"
which was a dance band
led by Professor Floyd Graham (better known
as "'Fessor Graham". Such notables as Nancy
Gates,Joan Blondelle and Pat Boone got their
starts at NT.
Under Hall, the lab bands also began. They
were named after the hours during which they
rehearsed, with the Two O'Clock being the
highest band. Later, this band's rehearsal time
was moved up to One O'Clock, hence the
famous One O'Clock name. In the 1950's, the
band began to enter competitions, and by
1980, they had won over 50 titles. At Publica-
tion, the One O'Clock no longer competed
because the mere entry of this respected band
scared away competitors. They played at var-
ious festivals, however, and always to thunder-
Director Neil Slater credited his predecessor
Leon Breeden with the success of the Lab
Band program. Slater said Breeden "was here
the longest of any of the directors and he
brought the program into focus." Breeden was
the director of the Jazz Studies program from
1959 to 1981, and during that time, NT began
to get the reputation it deserved. At the Notre
Dame Jazz Festival, Stan Kenton saw the One
O'Clock and immediately fell in love. He be-
gan to recruit members of his band from the
One O'Clock, and when he died in 1979, he
willed his entire library to the school. Also
under Breeden, the One O'Clock's 1975 and
1976 albums were nominated for Grammy
Awards, with the '75 album being entirely
composed and/or by Pat Metheny Group
keyboardist Lyle Mays.
In 1981, Neil Slater took over the helm of
the jazz department. He came with a wide
range of experience, being under contract with
MCA and Warner Brothers music as a com-
poser, arranger and consultant. Besides direct-
ing and touring the One O'Clock, he has led
the way for a great many improvements. A
master's degree in Jazz Studies and the Jazz
Lecture Series were both started under his
direction. He did not want the credit, however.
"Everyone here pulls together - it's definitely
not just me. It's really a team effort," Slater
Lab Bands ^
Arts And Entertainment
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University of North Texas. The Aerie, Yearbook of University of North Texas, 1990, yearbook, 1990; Denton, Texas. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth61055/m1/96/: accessed April 25, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Special Collections.