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Big Band Report

Clearing Off the Desk . . .

By Published: November 30, 2004
November has brought cooler weather to New Mexico but not much in the way of big-band news, although I had the pleasure of reviewing one of the best albums to come my way in recent months, Two Different Days, by Rob Parton's superlative Chicago-based ensemble. I've spent much of the last month or two on a new "project," downloading big-band CDs onto the computer before buying a portable music device, probably an iPod, in December. I want to have it in hand when I leave town in January for the 32nd annual conference of the International Association for Jazz Education, which is being held this year in Long Beach, CA. So far I've downloaded about 500 big-band albums, several by smaller groups and thirty-one of my favorite Broadway original cast albums. I'll be adding some classical CDs soon including best-loved symphonies and concertos by Tchaikovsky, Mahler, Beethoven, Brahms, Dvorak, Smetana and others. That should keep me occupied on plane trips!

Speaking of the IAJE conference . . .
The National Endowment for the Arts has named seven Jazz Masters who'll be honored during the event. Chosen for this year's honor roll are Kenny Burrell, Paquito D'Rivera, Slide Hampton, Shirley Horn, Artie Shaw, Jimmy Smith and impresario George Wein. The conference will be held January 5-8, with the award ceremony on January 7. Big bands scheduled to perform include the Bob Florence Limited Edition, Gordon Goodwin's Big Phat Band, The Jim Knapp Orchestra, the Frank Mantooth Tribute Orchestra, Kim Richmond's Concert Jazz Orchestra, the Bill Holman Band, the Gerald Wilson Orchestra, and Sweden's Bohuslan Big Band. Among the school groups — the Brisbane, Australia, All-Star Youth Band, CSU-Hayward, Berklee College, Florida State University, Indiana University-Bloomington, the Nashville Jazz Workshop, South Africa's University of Kwazulu, the University of Oregon, and the Wesley College ensemble from Melbourne, Australia. As usual, an impressive lineup of clinicians / panelists / performers is scheduled to take part including Jack Costanzo, Bobby Shew, John Clayton, Eddie Daniels, Joey DeFrancesco, Madeline Eastman, Mimi Fox, Dave Frishberg, Herbie Hancock, Roy Haynes, David Hazeltine, Bireli Lagrene, Kitty Margolis, Jason Marsalis, Bennie Maupin, James Morrison, Sammy Nestico, Miles Osland, Marcus Roberts, Diane Schuur, Bud Shank, Tierney Sutton and Dr. Billy Taylor. And that's only a partial list. The usual 7,000 or so educators, musicians, vendors and fans from around the world are expected. As I missed last year's event, I am especially looking forward to this one. See you there?

There was one thing . . .
I did attend a Jazz Festival of sorts here in Albuquerque on November 23. The annual Uptown Jazz Festival, now fifteen years old, is primarily for high school ensembles with a guest appearance by the Albuquerque Jazz Orchestra. The high school bands performing this year (directors in parentheses) were La Cueva (Keith Jordan), Manzano (Matt Talmadge), Highland (Paul Blakey) and Eldorado (John Sanks). Each of the high school groups performed three numbers, the AJO four. Sanks and Blakey are members of the AJO, with Sanks (trombone) featured on John Fedchock's "Eleven Nights," Blakey (baritone sax) on "Pepper," dedicated to the late great Pepper Adams. Tenor saxophonist Lee Taylor was the headliner on a fine arrangement of "Moten Swing," and the ensemble wrapped things up with Gordon Goodwin's raucous "Jazz Police."

Buselli / Wallarab Orchestra back in action
On December 4-5, the splendid Buselli / Wallarab Jazz Orchestra will perform selections from Tchaikovsky's Nutcracker ballet, arranged for Jazz ensemble by Duke Ellington and Billy Strayhorn, at the Indiana History Center Theatre in Indianapolis. The concert will include other holiday favorites featuring vocalist Everett Greene. There'll be two performances each day, a matinee at two o'clock and evening concerts at seven, the latter preceded by informal talks by the orchestra's co-leaders, trumpeter Mark Buselli and trombonist Brent Wallarab. For information, contact the Indiana Historical Society, 317-232-1882, or the BWJO, 317-464-5388. By the way, the BWJO's two excellent CDs, Happenstance and Heart and Soul, are available online at www.cdbaby.com

Before signing off . . .
Alicia Keys, Jason Moran, Ellis Marsalis, Kenny Garrett, Gato Barbieri and Keiko Matsui are among the headliners set to perform at the 12th annual Barbardos Jazz Festival on January 10-16. For more information, go to www.barbadosjazzfestival.com
Looking further ahead, the 15th annual North Texas Jazz Festival will be held next April 1-3 in Addison. For information, head to www.addisontexas.net

And that's it for now. Until next time, keep swingin'!

New and Noteworthy

  1. Lars Jansson / Bohuslän Big Band, Temenos (Spice of Life)
  2. George Stone & Friends, Music of Stewart "Dirk" Fischer (Sea Breeze)
  3. Peter Brem Big Band, I Knew Orla Leans (MusicMecca)
  4. Bob Mintzer Big Band, Live at MCG (MCG)
  5. Mike Longo NY State of the Art Jazz Ensemble, Oasis (CAP)
  6. David Berger / Sultans of Swing, Marlowe (Such Sweet Thunder)
  7. Rob Parton's JazzTech Big Band, Two Different Days (Sea Breeze)
  8. George Gee Big Band, Settin' the Pace (GJazz)
  9. Clark Terry / Chicago Jazz Orchestra, Porgy & Bess (Americana Music)
  10. Harry Arnold Big Band, 1964 / 1965, Vols. 1 and 2 (Dragon)
  11. Lou Marini / Magic City Jazz Orchestra, Lou's Blues (CMG)
  12. Tony Corbiscello Big Band, Real Time (Alanna)
  13. Bruce Eskovitz Jazz Orchestra, Regions (Backstage Records)
  14. Mt. Hood Community College, "I'm New Here . . ." (Sea Breeze Vista)
  15. Pat Longo and His Latin / Jazz Band, Extreme Heat (Longann Records)


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