Rock Chalk Suite

Rock Chalk Suite

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It’s been said that basketball is like jazz—but Rock Chalk Suite takes the comparison to another level entirely. Written and recorded by the musicians of the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis, each of the suite’s high-flying 15 movements takes inspiration from a different University of Kansas hoops legend. As Marsalis says, both basketball and jazz “reward improvisation and split-second decision making against the pressure of time,” and the JLCO’s masterful composers have turned the Jayhawks’ rich basketball history into a stylish slam dunk of an album.
Rock Chalk Suite was commissioned to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Lied Center of Kansas, KU’s performing arts center, and the album utilizes the JLCO’s full roster to honor the university's rich athletic heritage as well as its cultural contributions to the world. Drawing on the careers of famous Jayhawks like Paul Pierce, Lynette Woodard, and Jo Jo White, Rock Chalk Suite is a timeless tribute to the spirit of improvisation, both on and off the hardwood.


Watch Brian Hanni, the voice of the Jayhawks, announce the JLCO members here!

Track Listing

1. The Y's Guy
2. Jo Jo's Mojo
3. Phog Allen
4. The First Lady: Lyrical Lynette
5. C.B.'s Theme
6. D(efense)-Up: The Untold Story of Darnell Valentine
7. The Truth
8. Walt's Waltz
9. Miracles
10. Third Quarter
11. Passing Game
12. I Cry Before My Country, I Leap Across Its Seas
13. Wiggins in 6/8
14. The Ponderous Pachyderm of the Planks
15. The Shot / I'm a Jayhawk (The KU Fight Song)




Sherman Irby — alto and soprano saxophones, flute, clarinet
Ted Nash — alto and soprano saxophones, flute, clarinet, piccolo
Victor Goines — tenor and soprano saxophones, Bb and bass clarinets, tambourine
†Walter Blanding — tenor saxophone
*Camille Thurman — tenor and soprano saxophones, clarinet
Paul Nedzela — baritone and soprano saxophones, bass clarinet


*Ryan Kisor
Kenny Rampton
Marcus Printup
Wynton Marsalis


Vincent Gardner
Chris Crenshaw (additional vocals, track 7)
Elliot Mason (tracks 1-8, 10-14)
*Sam Chess (tracks 9 and 15)


Dan Nimmer — piano
Carlos Henriquez — bass
*Charles Goold — drums
*Taurien “TJ” Reddick – percussion

*Indicates substitute orchestra members

†Did not perform on this recording