Pete Candoli (and Other Losses...)
Henry Mackenzie (clarinet, tenor saxophone); George Melly (piano, vocal); Leon Merian (trumpet); Frank Morgan (alto saxophone); Sal Mosca (piano); Tommy Newsom (alto, tenor saxophone, arranger, composer); Bob Olson (trombone); Mike Osbourne (alto saxophone, clarinet); Cecil Payne (baritone saxophone, flute); Oscar Peterson (piano); Herb Pomeroy (trumpet, leader, educator); Specs Powell (drums); Doug Riley (piano, composer); Herman Riley (tenor saxophone); Max Roach (drums); Bobby Rosengarden (drums); Gilbert Rovere (bass); Paul Rutherford (trombone); Floyd Standifer (trumpet, flugelhorn, tenor saxophone, vocal); Dakota Staton (vocal); Tony Scott (clarinet, tenor, baritone saxophone, percussion, composer, arranger); Earl Turbinton (alto, soprano saxophone); Carlos (Patato) Valdez (percussion); Randy Van Horn (vocal, arranger, leader); Al Viola (guitar); Earl Watkins (drums); Dick Wetmore (violin); Carla White (vocal); Jack Wilson (piano); Eldee Young (bass); Joe Zawinul (piano, keyboards, composer). RIP, ladies and gentlemen. You will be missed.
A Canadian Jazz Hall of Fame
Word is that a Canadian Jazz Hall of Fame is to be established in Niagara on the Lake, Ontario. The city is a tourism center noted for the annual George Bernard Shaw Festival that draws visitors from all over the world. The Hall, which is the brainchild of John Armstrong, vice-president of the public relations firm OEB Enterprise, is scheduled to open in January 2009, with the first inductions to be held during the area's Ice Wine Festival. Needless to say, it's a great idea and long overdue. Here are some names for consideration on the first ballotOscar Peterson, Rob McConnell, Maynard Ferguson, Phil Nimmons. I'm sure there are others who deserve the honor, but those should get the voters started on the right foot.
Big Band Jam! 2008 will be held April 18-27 at several locations in the Washington, DC, area including Blues Alley, the Voice of America Stage, the Kennedy Center's Millennium Stage, the Library of Congress and the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History. The Sylvan Theatre will host a number of DC-area high-school jazz ensembles. Other components of the event include the Collegiate Jazz Jam!, the International Jazz Jam! and performances by jazz ensembles from the Army, Navy and Air Force. Multiple guest master classes will accompany feature performances, and there will be a round table discussion about the legendary Voice of America broadcast personality Willis Conover during "Willis Conover Memorial Weekend" April 26-27. For more information, log on to www.bluesalley.org
The days when big bands were constantly on the road playing one-night stands in cities and towns from coast to coast may be long gone, but there are a few who continue to persevere in spite of almost insurmountable odds (and the prospect of going bankrupt in the process). Trumpeter Mike Vax, who rode the bus in the 1970s as a member of the Stan Kenton Orchestra and now lives in Oakland, CA, has assembled his band for a number of yearly tours of two weeks or more, and has arranged another, through seven Midwestern states, in April and May. Vax's band houses a number of Kenton alumni and includes such well-known players as pianist Bob Florence, trumpeters Carl Saunders and Dennis Noday, saxophonist Kim Richmond and drummer Gary Hobbs. This year's tour begins May 22 in Rogersville, MO, and ends May 10 in Detroit. In between, there'll be concerts and clinics at nearly a dozen high schools as well as at the universities of Nebraska and Minnesota. For more about the tour, go to www.bigbandjazz.net
And we mustn't overlook the next Ken Poston/L.A. Jazz Institute extravaganza, "The Stage Door Swings," May 22-25 at the Sheraton LAX Four Points Hotel, with a "bonus event" for early birds the evening of May 21a dinner and concert featuring the Dave Pell Octet. The various groups, large and small, will perform music from half a dozen popular Broadway shows and by celebrated composers from Harold Arlen, Irving Berlin and Cole Porter to Rodgers and Hart, Rodgers and Hammerstein, Frank Loesser, Lerner and Loewe, the Gershwin brothers and Jerome Kern. And there'll be the usual panel discussions and films including the West Coast premier of "Bud Shank: Portrait of a Jazz Legend," produced and directed by Graham Carter. For information, go to www.lajazzinstitute.org
We leave you this time with a story that's simply too good not to pass on. It comes to us from trumpeter Eric Miyashiro, a celebrated bandleader in Japan who once held the lead chair in Buddy Rich's band, and concerns the late great Steve Marcus, Buddy's right-hand man for many years and a standout soloist on tenor and soprano saxophone.