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Big Band Report

On the Brighter Side . . .

By Published: January 8, 2003

"Autumn Eve" honors Woody

Another of Jazz's renowned figures, bandleader Woody Herman, was remembered in October with a ceremony and concert at the Hollywood Forever cemetery in California. Even though he's gone, Woody's band plays on, and the Woody Herman Orchestra, now directed by Frank Tiberi, was the star attraction at the "Autumn Eve observance, playing a number of the band's memorable tunes and welcoming as its guests saxophonist Joe Lovano and vocalist Shelby Lynne. Chuck Niles of KKJZ-FM was master of ceremonies, and those invited to take part (I'm not sure that all of them were able to attend) included Herman alumni John LaPorta, Pete Candoli, Billy Bauer, Don Lamond, Terry Gibbs, Cy Touff, Bill Perkins, Chuck Flores, Dick Hafer, Bill Trujillo, Jack Nimitz, Bill Berry (who has since passed away), Andy McGee, Phil Wilson, Jake Hanna, Joe LaBarbera, Alan Broadbent, Polly Podewell and Dave Carpenter. Also slated to perform were the Berklee College of Music's Rainbow Band (directed by trombonist Wilson) and the Jazz America Youth Orchestra. Like Dizzy Gillespie, Woody Herman was one of a kind, and wherever he is, he must have been flashing that famous smile as another of his Thundering Herds showed an audience how hip and exciting big-band music can be.

On a sadder note, one of the key members of Woody's "new Herd, baritone saxophonist / road manager Mike Brignola, was seriously hurt in December when his van was broadsided by another car after an appearance in Washington state. Last we heard, Mike was out of intensive care, back in Pennsylvania with family and on the road to recovery, and that is good news indeed. The Herd won't be the same without him. Get well soon, Mike! We hope to see you anchoring that marvelous saxophone section again in short order. And as for everyone else . . .

Until next time, keep swingin'!

NEW & NOTEWORTHY: January 2003

  1. Dutch Jazz Orchestra: You Go to My Head (Challenge)
  2. John Fedchock NY Big Band: No Nonsense (Reservoir)
  3. Stan Kenton: With the Danish Radio Jazz Orch (Storyville)
  4. Danny D'Imperio: Big Band Bloviation (Rompin')
  5. United Women's Orchestra: Virgo Supercluster (JazzHaus)
  6. Cal State Universityï"Hayward: Excursions (CSUH)
  7. Rob McConnell Tentet: Thank You, Ted (Justin Time)
  8. Ed Wilson Big Band: Song for Joel (WMP)
  9. Knoxville Jazz Orchestra: A Year in the Life . . . (KJO)
  10. Dayton Jazz Orchestra: Just Playin' Around (DJO)

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