Meet Ladd McIntosh
Playing vs. bandleading
My master's degree is in woodwinds performance. I still play at the Mancini Institute just to let them know the old man knows what he's talking about. If something comes along I do it. I played a wedding reception a while ago for some good money with four pieces, some Frank Sinatra songs. I used to play soprano on certain tunes with my big band, but as time went on we didn't play those tunes any more. I would rather focus on the music, the performance and let these guys shine. That's one of the things they appreciate about meI give them the opportunity to stretch out. When I was still teaching at Northridge I would do a few clinics and concerts at various places. I almost always played at those.
Classic American songwriters
I love their abilities to write great melodies: George Gershwin, Jerome Kern, Irving Berlin, Cole Porter, Rodgers and Hart, Duke Ellington. Gershwin's orchestrations were pretty lame, but Porgy and Bess Oh man!
I always told my students music is three things: imagination, logic, and clarity. Bartok could take a flute and put it in the middle of an orchestra, and you could still hear that flute. His Concerto for Orchestra , the 1923 Dance Suite , The Miraculous Mandarin. He wrote a piece for antiphonal string orchestras (two separate string sections), percussion, and celesta in about 1936. It pre-dates stereophonic sound. I arranged two of the four movements for Zanzibar with jazz solos in the middle. That was really fun to conduct with a lot of odd meter stuff. I kept the antiphonal ideamy woodwinds and French horns became my other string section.
I love his string writing. The stuff he did for Diana Krall on that Look of Love album. Gate of Dreams he wrote it for a New York dance company in the 1970's with Michael Brecker, David Sanborn, and George Benson. Symbiosis with Bill Evans. The record he did with Frank Sinatra and Antonio Carlos Jobim-it's just a string section, a flute or two, and a trombone with a felt mute. I found a wonderful Gene Lees Jazzletter online that devoted the entire issue to Ogerman.