Jacksonville: Big City, Big Band, Big Plans
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, 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 Claytonas artist-in-residence. "Family guys" to set to perform include 91-year-old pianist Hank Jones (the last surviving member of a family that includes brothers Elvin and Thad), the Clayton brothers (John and Jeff), Dave Brubeck and sons, the Heath brothers (Jimmy and Tootie), John and Bucky Pizzarelli, Larry and Julian Coryell, Pete and Juan Escovedo, and Brian Auger and his family. The "heirs" (those with strong family traditions) include T.S. Monk and Chuchito Valdes, son and grandson of pianists Chucho and Bebo Valdes.
Among those coming "home" to perform are vocalists Sheila Jordanand Dee Dee Bridgewater (from nearby Flint), pianist Geri Allen, drummer Louis Hayes, saxophonists Charles McPherson and Benny Maupin, bassist Rodney Whitaker, drummer Karriem Riggins, trumpeter Marcus Belgrave and last but not least, bandleader Gerald Wilson 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 CoreaTrio, saxophonist Wayne Shorter with bassist John Patitucci, drummer Brian Blade and pianist Danilo Perez, vibraphonist Stefon Harris and bassist Christian McBride's quintet, Inside Straight. Other presentations include a 100th anniversary tribute to Benny Goodman by clarinetist Eddie Daniels and the Wayne State University Big Band, and a piano salute to Hank Jones, Tommy Flanagan, Barry Harris and Milt Jackson by pianist Antonio Ciacca. 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