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Big Band Report

Jacksonville: Big City, Big Band, Big Plans

By Published: August 5, 2009
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A week earlier, Betty and I were at The Cooperage steakhouse in Albuquerque for a concert by the Albuquerque Jazz Orchestra whose leader, trumpeter Bobby Shew

Bobby Shew
Bobby Shew
b.1941
trumpet
, had been taken ill and was unable to be there. Nevertheless, the ensemble was in fine form. Instead of closing with "Green Dolphin Street," the AJO opened its first set with the Bronislau Kaper standard. The rest was familiar fare (to us) with only one new chart, "Where or When," which featured pianist Stu McAskie, sitting in for Chris Ishee who continues to recover from a heart attack. The capable soloists included two newcomers, alto saxophonist Brian Donahoe (subbing for Glenn Kostur) and trumpeter Dan Jonas (for Kent Erickson). Tenor Lee Taylor was admirable as always on his features, "Here's That Rainy Day," "When You're Smiling" and "My Funny Valentine," as were Donahoe on "Cherokee" and trumpeter Bruce Dalby on "Mulholland Falls." Alas, the attendance was slight (we counted less than thirty), and future engagements at The Cooperage remain in doubt.

On the Horizon

The thirtieth annual Detroit Jazz Festival will be held September 4-7, 2009 in the downtown area of the Motor City. This year's event will celebrate Family Jazz Dynasties and the Detroit Jazz Legacy, with bassist John Clayton

John Clayton
John Clayton
b.1952
bass, acoustic
as artist-in-residence. "Family guys" to set to perform include 91-year-old pianist Hank Jones
Hank Jones
Hank Jones
1918 - 2010
piano
(the last surviving member of a family that includes brothers Elvin and Thad), the Clayton brothers (John and Jeff), Dave Brubeck
Dave Brubeck
Dave Brubeck
1920 - 2012
piano
and sons, the Heath brothers (Jimmy and Tootie), John and Bucky Pizzarelli
Bucky Pizzarelli
Bucky Pizzarelli
b.1926
guitar
, Larry and Julian Coryell, Pete and Juan Escovedo, and Brian Auger
Brian Auger
Brian Auger
b.1939
organ, Hammond B3
and his family. The "heirs" (those with strong family traditions) include T.S. Monk
T.S. Monk
T.S. Monk
b.1949
drums
and Chuchito Valdes
Chuchito Valdes
Chuchito Valdes
b.1966
piano
, son and grandson of pianists Chucho and Bebo Valdes
Bebo Valdes
Bebo Valdes
1918 - 2013
piano
.

Among those coming "home" to perform are vocalists Sheila Jordan

Sheila Jordan
Sheila Jordan
b.1928
vocalist
and Dee Dee Bridgewater
Dee Dee Bridgewater
Dee Dee Bridgewater
b.1950
vocalist
(from nearby Flint), pianist Geri Allen
Geri Allen
Geri Allen
b.1957
piano
, drummer Louis Hayes
Louis Hayes
Louis Hayes
b.1937
drums
, saxophonists Charles McPherson
Charles McPherson
Charles McPherson
b.1939
sax, alto
and Benny Maupin, bassist Rodney Whitaker
Rodney Whitaker
Rodney Whitaker
b.1968
bass, acoustic
, drummer Karriem Riggins
Karriem Riggins
Karriem Riggins
b.1975
drums
, trumpeter Marcus Belgrave
Marcus Belgrave
Marcus Belgrave
b.1936
trumpet
and last but not least, bandleader Gerald Wilson
Gerald Wilson
Gerald Wilson
b.1918
composer/conductor
who will conduct a work commissioned especially for the Festival's thirtieth anniversary celebration.

But that's not all. Concertgoers will also have a chance to see and hear the Chick Corea

Chick Corea
Chick Corea
b.1941
piano
Trio, saxophonist Wayne Shorter
Wayne Shorter
Wayne Shorter
b.1933
saxophone
with bassist John Patitucci
John Patitucci
John Patitucci
b.1959
bass
, drummer Brian Blade
Brian Blade
Brian Blade
b.1970
drums
and pianist Danilo Perez
Danilo Perez
Danilo Perez
b.1966
piano
, vibraphonist Stefon Harris
Stefon Harris
Stefon Harris
b.1973
vibraphone
and bassist Christian McBride
Christian McBride
Christian McBride
b.1972
bass
's quintet, Inside Straight. Other presentations include a 100th anniversary tribute to Benny Goodman
Benny Goodman
Benny Goodman
1909 - 1986
clarinet
by clarinetist Eddie Daniels
Eddie Daniels
Eddie Daniels
b.1941
clarinet
and the Wayne State University Big Band, and a piano salute to Hank Jones, Tommy Flanagan
Tommy Flanagan
Tommy Flanagan
1930 - 2001
piano
, Barry Harris
Barry Harris
Barry Harris
b.1929
piano
and Milt Jackson
Milt Jackson
Milt Jackson
1923 - 1999
vibraphone
by pianist Antonio Ciacca
Antonio Ciacca
Antonio Ciacca
b.1969
piano
. The Michigan State University Big Band will perform works by John Clayton. Other big bands set to appear are those from Boston's Berklee School of Music and North Carolina Central University. For more information, phone Matt Lee, Festival publicist, at 248-931-2443, or e-mail Mleibow412@aol.com

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