Richmond's adventurous ensemble played two of his compositions, "Anchor of Hope and "Big Sur, Johnny Mandel's "Seascape and Mike Barone's great arrangement (expanded for the occasion) of the country / western classic, "Tumbling Tumbleweeds. The topnotch soloists included trombonists Joey Sellers and Scott Whitfield, trumpeter Huffsteter, tenor John Yoakum, alto Jeff Driskill and Richmond himself, also on alto. Huffsteter was showcased again with the Florence band (he seemed to be almost everywhere, either on trumpet or mellophonium), as were trumpeters Saunders, Ron Stout and Larry Lunetta; trombonists Alex Iles, Bob McChesney and Charlie Loper; tenors Tom Peterson and Jeff Driskill, baritone Bob Efford, bassist Joel Hamilton and Florence at the keyboard. Among the highlights Mandel's "Emily (Huffsteter), Billy Strayhorn's "Chelsea Bridge (McChesney, Loper) and Florence's colorful tributes to Kenton ("Appearing in Cleveland ) and Count Basie ("Eternal Licks and Grooves").
Day 2 started with Film 2, and even though the film quality wasn't high-grade, it was good to see and hear such West Coast legends as Holman, Shorty Rogers, Bill Perkins, Frank Rosolino, Bob Cooper, Shelly Manne, Pete Jolly, Stu Williamson, Charlie Mariano, Monty Budwig and Russ Freeman, as well as Buddy DeFranco, Mel Tormé, Gerry Mulligan and the Don Ellis Orchestra. The film preceded concerts by Fischer's Jazz Corps and the New York Neophonic directed by Kaye, and a panel discussion on the Neophonic Composers (Part 1) with Fischer, Garcia, Florence, Richmond and Jim Knight. Fischer's brass-heavy Jazz Corps, conducted by son Brent Fischer, presented a wide-ranging program of standards ("Cherokee, "Lover Man ) and originals by the elder ("Hey James, "Corcovado Funebre, "Hokey Blues, "Lennie's Pennies, "Fuzz Blues, "Four Brothers @ Five.com ) and younger Fischers ("The Duke, "Stop Up ). The New York Neophonic performed Johnny Richards' "Fata Morgana and "Manzanitas the first of which is included on the new CD New Horizons, Vol. 2, on Tantara as well as Stephen Sondheim's "Not a Day Goes By, Juan Tizol's "Caravan and two numbers from the Seals & Crofts "book, "Tahirah and "East of Ginger Trees.
Vocalist Tierney Sutton and her trio (Henry, bass; Christian Jacob, piano; Ray Brinker, drums) entertained at the Garcia dinner with three Irving Berlin tunes, after which Holman, Shank and Duane Tatro paid their respects and Garcia appeared in a video retrospective of his career. The Los Angeles Neophonic Orchestra 2005 then closed the evening with the first of its two exciting concerts.
Saturday morning's film, the last of the three, included performances by Shank, Collette, vibraphonist Cal Tjader's quintet and the irrepressible Cannonball Adderley group with brother Nat on cornet, roaring through bassist Sam Jones' "Del Sasser. Next came another highlight, a panel discussion sans moderator wherein Kaye and saxophonist Billy Kerr simply talked for an hour about the New York Neophonic, weaving a perceptive and humorous narrative that kept the audience in the palm of their hands.
After lunch, eighty-three-year-old Buddy Collette, wheelchair-bound after a recent stroke, shrugged it off to conduct yet another exhilarating concert (with solos to match by saxophonists Louis Taylor and Fred Jackson, trumpeter Anne King, trombonist Ira Nepus and pianist John Campbell), after which Niehaus, Vig, Wilson and Clausen took part in Panel No. 4, The Neophonic Composers, Part 2. Shank's big band was up next, with a program whose high spots included a blistering duel between Shank and tenor Doug Webb on "The Night Has a Thousand Eyes, Mike Barone's "Limes Away (a.k.a. "Limehouse Blues ) and Florence's "Taking the Long Way Home. The Los Angeles Neophonic Orchestra 2005 wrapped up the evening with its second concert under conductors Wilson, Vig, Niehaus and Clausen
Sunday's opening panel, The Junior Neophonic, with Wheaton, Knight, Marni Johnson, Adrian Tapia and Mike Vacarro, was quite appropriate, as it led to the poolside concert by Cerritos College and the spectacular performance by the hand-picked Junior Neophonic Orchestra of Southern California. I can't review the various selections (it's almost impossible to write in the dark, and three days of doing so had left me unwilling to continue) but trust me, these young musicians were awesome, wiping away any fear or doubt one might have had about the future of big-band Jazz, at least in the Los Angeles area.