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Big Band Report

Bob Florence: The Man Behind the Music / The Stage Door (Often) Swings

By Published: June 10, 2008
Bits and Pieces

Closer to home, Betty and I attended a first-ever concert May 1 at Albuquerque's Outpost Performance Space by the Doug Lawrence / Bobby Shew Quintet, so new the ink was still wet on the band's book. Tenor saxophonist Lawrence, a featured soloist with the Count Basie Orchestra, recently moved back to Albuquerque after some years on the road. His adorable one-year-old daughter helped provide the incentive. The front-liners were backed by a first-class local rhythm section comprised of pianist Bob Fox, bassist Michael Olivola and drummer John Trentacosta. The blowing and interplay were brilliant, of course, even though Shew was sight-reading what was essentially Lawrence's music. They should do this more often.

Two evenings later we were at the Hispanic Cultural Center for a lively and colorful Cinco de Mayo celebration featuring the wonderful tenor, Armando Mora, accompanied by the eight-member Mariachi Tenampa, the STEPS Dance Academy and guest singers Salome Martinez-Lutz and Claraliz Mora (Armando's talented daughter). It was quite literally a song-and-dance show centered around the lively and romantic songs of Mexico, and was thoroughly delightful. We're looking forward to Mora's return this fall in a new production of the Spanish operetta, El Barbare de Sevilla.

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

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