Summertime Is Jazz Time
There’s actually more to living here in Albuquerque than blue, sunny skies, lovely views in every direction and a drought that won’t go away. Each summer the New Mexico Jazz Workshop presents (as it has for the past twenty-eight years) “Jazz Under the Stars” and “Salsa Under the Stars” through June and July in the Sculpture Garden at the Albuquerque Museum, a block away from historic Old Town. The Salsa programs are held on Friday evenings, the Jazz on Saturdays.
The Salsa series kicks off on June 4 with the Albuquerque Latin Jazz Orchestra paying tribute to the Queen of Salsa, Celia Cruz. Other groups scheduled to perform are Encancto (June 11), Son Como Son (June 18, July 30), Ivon Ulibarri and Café Mocha (June 25), Gujarat (July 9), New York Louie and Friends (July 16) and Charanga del Valle (July 23).
The Jazz program opens June 5 with a Big Band Extravaganza featuring the Albuquerque Jazz Orchestra and including the NMJW Adult Big Band, NMJW High-School Honor Jazz Ensemble and Middle School Honor Jazz Band. A highlight of this year’s series is a performance on June 26 by the great Jazz trombonist Bill Watrous who’ll be leading a quartet with pianist Stu MacAskie, bassist Milo Jaramilo and drummer John Trentacosta. Also performing that evening are the Summer Jazz Intensive All-Stars, comprised of students in the NMJW’s summer Jazz Intensive program at the Albuquerque Academy. Other presentations in the Jazz series: vocalist Hillary Smith and Hip Pocket (June 12), The 3rd Annual Albuquerque Jazz Guitar Festival (June 19), the Bob Montgomery / Al Hermann Quartet (July 17) and the bop-centered group Straight Up! (July 24) in conjunction with Albuquerque Contemporary 2004, the 15th annual Regional Juried Art Exhibition. As if that weren‘t enough, there are summer jam sessions each Sunday evening at Seasons Rotisserie and Grill. Looks like my summer is booked!
More Summertime Fun
Jazz, like June, will soon be bustin’ out all over, and not only in Albuquerque . . .
On May 27-30, the Los Angeles Jazz Institute presents Springsville, a celebration of “The Birth of the Cool . .. And Beyond,” at LA’s Four Points Sheraton Hotel. Among the galaxy of Jazz stars scheduled to perform are Lee Konitz, Bob Brookmeyer, Phil Woods, Helen Merrill, Teddy Charles, Phil Urso, Scott Robinson, Jack Sheldon, Bill Trujillo, Bobby Shew, Dave Pell, Dick Hafer, Bob Hardaway and Carl Saunders. In addition to the concerts, the program includes three film retrospectives with rare footage of Lester Young, Miles Davis, Gil Evans, Gerry Mulligan, Lennie Tristano, Warne Marsh, George Shearing, Woody Herman’s “Four Brothers” band, Shorty Rogers, Chet Baker, Art Pepper, Shelly Manne, Dave Brubeck, Paul Desmond and others. The seven panel discussions will include such Jazz masters as Konitz, Charles, Pell, Pete Rugolo, Al McKibbon, Billy Bauer, Urso, Hafer, Trujillo and Hardaway (discussing the “Four Brothers” sound), Sheldon, Pell, Bob Enevoldsen, Chuck Flores, Bob Whitlock, Howard Rumsey, Brookmeyer and Woods.
There are no less than fifteen concerts scheduled, starting at noon on May 27 with the Fullerton College Jazz Ensemble. Other concerts showcase Dave Pell’s Prez Conference; the music of the Claude Thornhill Orchestra featuring Konitz with an all-star big band and the Miles Davis Birth of the Cool Nonet with trumpeter Bobby Shew; the Cal State-Los Angeles Jazz Orchestra; the Teddy Charles Tentet; the new Lee Konitz Nonet directed by Ohad Talmor; an all-star celebration of the music and influence of Lennie Tristano with Konitz, Bauer, Ted Brown and Dave MacKay; the Cal Arts Jazz Ensemble; “The Brothers” (Urso, Hafer, Trujillo, Hardaway); Keen and Peachy — The Music of Woody Herman’s Four Brothers Band performed by the Los Angeles Jazz Orchestra with guest Phil Woods; West Coast Cool featuring the West Coast All-Stars with Woods again guest starring; the Cal State-Northridge Jazz “A” Band; "Great Jazz Standards" performed by the Los Angeles Jazz Orchestra with Woods; “Dream of You,” featuring vocalist Helen Merrill with orchestra; and last but not least, the Gerry Mulligan Concert Jazz Band directed by Brookmeyer with special guest Scott Robinson. Wow! To order tickets by phone, dial 562-985-7065.
If you plan to be in LA for Springsville, you may as well hang around for the 14th annual Kenton Clan Party and Artistry in Kenton to be held June 5 at The Forum at Pasadena City College (Artistry) and June 6 at the Holiday Inn Ballroom in Monrovia (Kenton Clan). Artistry in Kenton consists of three parts: a panel discussion by former members of the Stan Kenton Orchestra including an in-depth discussion of the mellophonium by some who played it; Kenton on Camera, video screenings of Kenton and his orchestra on film and kinescope that have not been seen publicly in decades; and Swingin’ for Stan, an all-star alumni concert featuring, among others, trumpeters Buddy Childers and Carl Saunders; saxophonists Bill Trujillo and Gary LeFebvre, drummer Gary Hobbs and Jazz mellophonium player Tony Scodwell.
The Kenton Clan Party on Sunday the 6th is entitled “More Mellophonium Magic,” a follow-up to last year’s highly successful 40th anniversary Kenton concert. The 24-member alumni concert orchestra will include some of Kenton’s original mellophonium players. On the program are many Kenton classics including a new version of “Artistry Jumps,” played for the first time with mellophonium parts, and Part 2 of the Cuban Fire Suite — not heard in more than forty years. Former Kenton saxophonist Joel Kaye will conduct the alumni orchestra whose trumpet section alone — Childers, Saunders, Mike Vax, Steve Huffsteter, Bob Rolfe — is worth the price of admission. Trujillo and LeFebvre are in the sax section with Kim Richmond, Med Flory and Nancy Newman; the ‘bone section includes Kenny Shroyer, Jack Redmond, Roy Wiegand, Mike Suter and Bob Olsen, the rhythm section pianist Rich Eames, bassist Dave Stone, drummer Gary Hobbs and percussionists Jack Costanzo and Mike Pacheco. Manning the mellophoniums are Tony Scodwell, Keith LaMotte, Dick Wright and Andrew Zollinger. The price is reasonable, $40 per person or $60 with lunch, and there are special hotel rates. For information phone 626-793-1477 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
If You’d Prefer Something “Hotter” . . .
The Puerto Rico Heineken Jazzfest will be held June 3-6 in — where else? — Puerto Rico. This is a Latin-centered event with performances by Jimmy Bosch, Spyro Gyra, Monty Alexander (a tribute to Bob Marley), the Tony Pérez Quintet, Giovanni Hidalgo, Horacio “El Negro” Hernändez, Tito de Gracias, Gato Barbieri, Dianne Reeves and others. For information phone 312-297-7593, 212-704-8154 or e-mail email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org
This month’s column is being written in the midst of a raging head cold, so I hope it’s coherent. And I hope you are able to get out and hear some live Jazz this summer. Until next time, keep swingin!
New and Noteworthy
1. Stan Kenton Orchestra, Horns of Plenty (Tantara)
2. Peter Brem Big Band, Natural Connections (Music Mecca)
3. Phil Norman Tentet, Wide Range (Concord)
4. Doncaster Jazz Orchestra, Discover the Spirit (DJO)
5. University of Miami Concert Jazz Band, Romances (Summit)
6. Dave Stevens Big Band, Sound Storm (Digital Visionary)
7. Mats Holmquist Big Band, A Tribute to Chick Corea (Caprice)
8. DVC Night Jazz Band, Featuring Toshiko Akiyoshi (DVC)
9. Jill Townsend Big Band, Tales from the Sea (Pagetown)
10. Rob McConnell Tentet, Songs of the Twenties (Justin Time)
11. Riverside Community College, Upside Out (Sea Breeze Vista)
12. Don Scaletta and the Jazz Project, Salutes Stan Kenton (Ars Nova)
13. University of North Texas One O'Clock Band, Lab 2003 (UNT Jazz)
14. National Youth Jazz Orchestra, Jazz in Film (Silva Screen)
15. Klüvers Big Band, Reflections (Music Mecca)