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Big Band Report

The AZ Jazz Academy: Onward And Upward

By Published: November 6, 2006
A final reminder that the 34th annual Conference of the International Association for Jazz Education (IAJE) will be held January 10-13 at the New York Sheraton and Hilton hotels. More than 8,000 educators, musicians, industry executives, media and students from 45 countries are expected to attend. If you've never attended an IAJE conference, it's hard to describe in words what you've been missing. It's a great four days, filled with music, lectures, clinics, audio-visual presentations and a 75,000-square-foot exhibit hall that must be seen to be believed.

As always, there'll be awards too—the President's Award to French composer Michel Legrand; the NEA Jazz Masters Awards to Toshiko Akiyoshi, Curtis Fuller, Ramsey Lewis, Jimmy Scott, Frank Wess and Phil Woods; the IFO International Jazz Award for New Talent to Norwegian trumpeter Mathias Eick, and a special award for Jazz Advocacy to Dan Morgenstern, among others.

Of course, the music's the drawing card, and this year's performers are a rich and diverse group from big bands to combos, traditional to avant-garde. Big bands include Finland's UMO, the Air Force Falconaires, the Dizzy Gillespie All-Star Big Band, Charlie Haden Liberation Orchestra, NewYorkestra, the Henry Mancini Institute Big Band, ensembles led by Charles Tolliver, John Fedchock and John Hollenbeck, plus the usual number of high school and college bands.

The first Jazz Arranging Competition sponsored by the University of South Florida in Tampa is a tribute to Michael Brecker. The university's Center for Jazz Composition welcomes submissions of scores for big band from composers of all nationalities. Submissions may be made in either of two categories: Open (no age restrictions) or Young Artist (30 years of age or younger as of June 1, 2007). Submissions must be received by February 23, 2007. Winning selections will be premiered by Chuck Owen and the Jazz Surge in three concerts dedicated to the works of Michael Brecker in April 2007.

And last but not least... The Los Angeles Jazz Institute is planning another spectacular event for big-band lovers, "Swing Into Spring, next May 24-27 at the Four Points Sheraton Hotel at LAX. There's no tribute to any specific band or bands this time, simply four days of great music by nearly twenty outstanding West Coast ensembles including the Don Ellis Alumni Band directed by Milcho Leviev and featuring Sam Falzone and Fred Selden; the Los Angeles Jazz Orchestra playing the music of Charles Mingus; the Bob Florence Limited Edition; and the Gerald Wilson Orchestra. Completing the lineup are Gordon Goodwin's Big Phat Band, the Carl Saunders Bebop Big Band, Maiden Voyage, the Frank Capp Juggernaut, Roger Neumann's Rather Large Band, Gerry Gibbs and the Thrasher Big Band, the Scott Whitfield, Buddy Collette, Wayne Bergeron, Mike Barone and Steve Huffsteter big bands, Stan Kenton's Adventures in Time, and the Collegiate Neophonic Orchestra of Southern California directed by Jack Wheaton.

There's also a special VIP level that includes front seats in the ballroom and a bus trip to Balboa Beach on May 23 that includes a walking tour of historic sites including the Rendezvous Ballroom, lunch at the Balboa Pavilion and a concert by the Mike Vax Big Band featuring Stan Kenton alumni. Wow!

And that's all for now. Until next time, keep swingin'...!

New and Noteworthy

1. Steve Cannon/Blow Hard Big Band, Full Blown (BRP)
2. Jim Cutler Jazz Orchestra, In Progress (Pony Boy)
3. National Youth Jazz Orchestra, London Pride (NYJO)
4. hr Big Band, Once In A Lifetime (TCB)
5. Doug Lawrence & His Orchestra, Big Band Swing (DLM)
6. Jazz Project Big Band, Thanks For The Memories (no label)
7. Colin Byrne Jazz Orchestra, Leaving For Home (TDCB)
8. U Wisconsin—Eau Claire, Lockbox (Sea Breeze Vista)
9. Vic Vogel/European Jazz Orchestra, Hommage à Oscar Peterson (VV Records)
10. John C. Smith & The Pecos River Brass, What a Wonderful World (PRB)
11. Joey Sellers Jazz Aggregation, El Payaso (Nine Winds)
12. Mt. Hood CC Jazz Band And Combo, My Foolish Heart (Sea Breeze Vista)
13. Buddy Collette Big Band, Live At El Camino College (UFO Bass)
14. West Australian Youth Jazz Orchestra, WAYJO Live (no label)
15. Marilyn Harris & The L.A. All-Stars Big Band, Round Trip (Wrightwood)

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