Pushing the Tempo

Director Steve Wiest keeps the band on its toes

by Jennifer Retter

When you direct a world-famous jazz band with six Grammy nominations, how on earth can you go any higher? Fort Worth, Texas talked with director Steve Wiest to see how the One O’Clock Lab Band keeps its prestige.
What is the audition process like? In jazz studies, every long semester we have auditions for our ensembles. Hundreds of students go through an audition process where they sight-read music with their studio teacher and are evaluated on improvisation, which is a big part of jazz. We have a three-day audition process where we listen to drummers for the rhythm section. 
Where are some of the places you travel? The One O’Clock Band has been invited to perform as headliners in major jazz festivals all over the world as well as universities and high schools. Over the years, the group has traveled internationally quite a bit: all of Europe, much of Asia, Canada. … Most recently we had two big trips, one to Thailand and one to Ireland and England.
What are your upcoming plans for the band? We’re putting together a couple of events where we have a guest soloist. Our big plans are to do regular performances in the Dallas/Fort Worth area, where we do a lot of recruiting and outreach concerts. We’ll be putting together our Lab 2012 recording and submitting it to the Grammy Awards.