Poston moderated the last of the half-dozen panels, this one an hour-long conversation with Bill Holman who spent at least half the time fielding questions from the audience. Often droll, always frank, Holman shared insights about his career, stories about fellow musicians, the process of composing and arranging, and, not least, his association with Stan Kenton. That set the stage for the penultimate concert, by the Gerald Wilson Orchestra, and the grand finale by Holman's band with special guest Shank on the last two numbers. The first four numbers, from Holman's CD, featured riveting solos by Stout, Martin, Saunders, alto Bruce Babad, tenors Ray Herrmann and Pete Christlieb, pianist Christian Jacob and valve trombonist Bob Enevoldsen. Even something as marvelous as Neophonic Impressions has to end sometime, and this was a great way to add the finishing touches.
I remembered that as I boarded the plane for Albuquerque, as I remembered also the pleasure of seeing and hearing so many great musicians, from headliners Holman, Shank, Florence, Wilson, Collette, Richmond and Fischer to stellar sidemen like Saunders (a consistently breathtaking soloist), Whitfield, Huffsteter, Martin, Carr, Jacob, Henry, Stout, Erskine, Shelton, Christlieb, Efford, Roger Ingram, Jerry Pinter, Ralph Razze, Dave Tull, Bob Summers, Kevin Axt, Ann Patterson, Al Viola, Jack Nimitz, Lanny Morgan, Wayne Bergeron and so many others (you know who you are). And I recalled fondly seeing and hanging out with friends old and new Jerry Swanberg, Bob Bragonier, Roger Lewis, Dave Umemoto, Graham Carter, Bob and Dee Ann Dain, Bruce and Jan Collier, Bill Lichtenauer, to name a few and talking with Garcia, Holman, Collette, Florence and others I've long admired. In sum, a memorable four days. Thanks, Ken, and thank you, LAJI, for keeping the flame burning. And if you missed this one . . .
The Institute's next program, Jazz West Coast 3: Legends of the West, is scheduled September 29-October 2, also at the Four Points Sheraton-LAX. The special events are you ready for this? include a reunion of the Chico Hamilton Quintet; an all-star big band playing the compositions and arrangements of Johnny Mandel, with Johnny himself conducting; Jazzmantics, featuring the music of John Graas; Jazz Rolls Royce (Bob Cooper's music for the Lighthouse All-Stars); Shorty Rogers' Martian Chronicles; an all-star tribute to Bud Shank who celebrated his seventy-ninth birthday in May; The Los Angeles Jazz Orchestra and Afro-Cubano (Stan Kenton's Cuban Fire and Shorty Rogers' Afro-Cuban Influence); "Jazz on the West Coast: The Lighthouse," a film by Ken Koenig; panel discussions and presentations on Chet Baker, Art Pepper, Paul Desmond, Eric Dolphy and Dr. Wesley LaViolette; and a Wednesday evening bonus event for early registrants, Jazz Themes from the West, featuring music from The Wild One (Shorty Rogers), The Subterraneans (André Previn), Slippery When Wet and Barefoot Adventure (Bud Shank).
Those scheduled to take part include Howard Rumsey, guitarist Jim Hall's trio, the Paul Horn Reunion Quintet, the Frank Morgan Quartet, the Jack Sheldon Big Band, the Herb Geller Quartet (playing the music of Lorraine Geller), the Dave Pell Octet, the Lennie Niehaus Sextet, Jack Costanzo's Latin Big Band, the Claude Williamson Trio and Allyn Ferguson's Chamber Jazz Sextet. As always, more information is available at their website.
Also on the Calendar . . .
The Jazz Journalists Association (JJA) will hold its ninth annual awards ceremony for Jazz musicians and their supporters June 14 at B.B. King's Blues Club and Grill, 237 W. 42nd St. in NYC. The ceremony is a benefit for the Jazz Foundation of America's Musicians Emergency Fund and for the JJA's educational initiatives. Special guests at this year's event include actor Robert Wisdom (from HBO's series The Wire) and Kym Hampton, niece of the late Lionel Hampton and founding member of the NY Liberty basketball team. Scheduled performers include Sy Johnson's 75th Birthday Septet, drummer Jack DeJohnette, singer Nnenna Freelon, and ASCAP Young Jazz Composers competition winners Maurice Brown, Quamon Fowler and Bob Reynolds. Information about the supper, 2005 JJA Jazz Awards nominees, and the history of the awards ceremony and past winners can be at their website.
BET Jazz is sponsoring a number of summer Jazz festivals in the U.S. including the JVC Jazz Festivals in Miami Beach, FL (June 1-5), NYC (June 13-26), Chicago (July 21-23) and Concord, CA (August 20), the J&R Music World Downtown Jazz Festival in NYC (August 21-23) and the Chicago Jazz Festival (September 2-5).
And Finally . . .