Odds 'n Ends
There's not a whole lot to write about this month (aside from Super Bowl XL, and that's not something we'll dive into here) so we'll call this ghoulash "odds 'n ends.
Brother Ed in Maryland sent me a brochure detailing the 15th annual Fish Middleton Jazz Scholarship Festival set for February 15-20 in suburban Rockville. A number of well-known performers will headline the twenty ticketed main-stage concerts including Rebecca Parris, Giacomo Gates, Frank Morgan, Ernie Andrews, David "Fathead Newman, Vanessa Rubin, Junior Mance, Buck Hill and Russell Malone, with guest appearances by the Airmen of Note, Army Blues and Navy Commodores. But that's only a part of the festival, as no less than ninety-nine other events are free and open to the public. These include performances by groups of various sizes, the annual Fish Middleton Jazz Scholarship competition, workshops on topics ranging from world music and Jazz theory to vocal and instrumental techniques, and nightly jam sessions and dances. I wish I'd known about it sooner, but will put it on the calendar for next year. If you're in the area or plan to be, the contact information is as follows: Fish Middleton Jazz Scholarship Fund (FMJS), P.O. Box 1768, Silver Spring, MD 20915-1768. Phone 301-933-1822; e-mail email@example.com; web site, www.fmjseastcoastjazz.com
A salute to legendary Grammy Award-winning composer / arranger / saxophonist Frank Foster, who spent many years in the Count Basie orchestra and led the band from 1986-95 after the Count's passing, will be held on Valentine's Day, February 14, in the John Birks Gillespie Auditorium at the NYC Baha'i Center, 53 East 11th St. Headlining the program is Ron Aprea's sixteen-piece big band with vocalist Angela DeNiro. The ticket price is $15 with discounts for students. For information, phone 212-222-5159.
Saxophonist Kim Richmond has announced plans for the second annual Northwoods Jazz Camp, to be held May 18-21 at the Holiday Acres Resort in Rhinelander, WI, about three hours north of Madison and an hour north of Wausau. Here's Kim's description: "It is a learning and growing experience for grown-ups, a combination Jazz Camp / Jazz Party in a lovely wooded lakeside setting in northern Wisconsin. Aspiring students of Jazz from college age to senior citizens are welcome. Also, non-playing 'auditors' can enroll at a discounted price. A faculty of Jazz professionals will teach instrumental / vocal master classes, improvisation, Jazz listening (how to listen and who to listen to, old and new), modern Jazz combo playing (and perhaps big band), with concerts each night (open to the public) where advanced students sit in with the professionals. A major 'perk' will be students hanging out with the faculty at meals, story sessions (i.e., about the big bands) and jam sessions. Students can be players or non-players (auditors). No prior expertise is required. A spouse or other family member who is not a student is welcome to stay free with the student and to take advantage of the special meal package available to students. The enjoyment of resort facilities, pool and surrounding woods and water are an important part of the Holiday Acres experience. This will be an intimate event with 25-30 students maximum. The faculty isn't quite set but may include Richmond (saxophone), Clay Jenkins (trumpet), Paul McKee (trombone), Rick Haydon (guitar), Reggie Thomas (piano), Jim Widner (bass / administrator), Chuck Braugham (drums) and Mardra Thomas (vocals). For more information, go to the Northwoods Jazz Camp web site, www.kimrichmond.com/JazzCamp/JazzCamp.html
And if you've not yet signed up, remember that Ken Poston's upcoming event, Encores in Big Band Jazz: Artistry in Rhythm Meets Woodchoppers Ball, promises to be one of the year's big-band highlights, with performances by the Terry Gibbs, Bill Holman, Al Porcino, Mike Vax and Buddy Charles bands, the Woody Herman Orchestra, Maynard Ferguson's Big Bop Nouveau, the Four Freshman, "Big Band Broadway conducted by Lennie Niehaus, Herman's "My Kind of Broadway and Kenton's "West Side Story conducted by Joel Kaye, "Blowin' Up a Storm (the music of Woody's First Herd), a presentation of Afro Cuban Jazz featuring two big bands (and including Johnny Richards' "Cuban Fire ), plus the usual films, panel discussions and poolside concerts by various college big bands. The event will be held May 25-28 at the Four Points Sheraton Hotel at LAX (which may already be sold out, but there are others nearby). It's sponsored by the Los Angeles Jazz Institute, whose phone number is 562-985-7065. If you've been putting it off, be sure and register soon! (The cost is $350 in advance, $325 for LAJI members.)