Jacksonville: Big City, Big Band, Big Plans
In Other News . . .
On July 10, Madavor Media, a Boston-based publishing and trade-show group, acquired Jazz Times magazine, which otherwise would have gone under. Madavor intends to resume publishing JT and its web site, jazztimes.com, immediately. Jazz Times was founded in 1970 as Radio Free Jazz by Washington, DC-based record-store owner Ira Sabin. Even though the All-Music guide called JT "arguably the number-one Jazz magazine in the world," the current economic downturn took its toll, and the magazine was on the verge of going out of business before Madavor Media stepped in. Current editor-in-chief Lee Mergner and managing editor Evan Haga will stay with the magazine to maintain continuity.
Trombonist Steve Wiest has been named director of the award-winning University of North Texas One O'Clock Lab Band, succeeding such legendary directors as Leon Breeden, Gene Hall and Neil Slater. Wiest, who played in the One O'Clock Lab Band when he was a master's student at UNT, returned to the school in 2007 to direct the U-Tubes, a trombone band, and was named interim director of the One O'Clock Lab Band in August 2008. Wiest has recorded two CDs: Excalibur, with his own Midwest-based big band, and Out of the New, a small-group session with UNT jazz faculty members Fred Hamilton, Stefan Karlsson, Lynn Seaton and Ed Soph. John Murphy, who was recently named director of the school's Jazz Studies division, served as chairman of the search committee that recruited Wiest.
On June 1-2, more than 35 leaders from the jazz education community and affiliated groups met in Chicago to launch the Jazz Education Network (JEN), an association whose focus will be on advancing and expanding jazz education, performance opportunities and audiences. The meetings were facilitated by Gene Wenner of Arts & Education Consultants. After two days of dialogue and deliberation, the group agreed enthusiastically to form JEN. Mary Jo Papich was elected president. Other officers are Lou Fischer, vice president; Bruce Silva, treasurer; and Julie Traenkenschuh, secretary.
After more than twenty years at the helm, trumpeter Rob Parton has decided to deactivate his superb Chicago-based JazzTech Big Band. Future plans, he says, may include either bringing back his nonet, Ensemble 9, or putting together a new big band "with different strengths," although how one could be stronger than his current ensemble is a premise that's hard to comprehend. In any event, Parton has made his decision, and the JazzTech Big Band has been terminated, leaving as a part of its legacy seven high-quality CDsJazzTech Big Band with Conte Candoli, The Count Is In!, What Are We Here For?, Fascinatin' Rhythm, Just One of Those Things, Eleventh Hour Live and Two Different Days. As Dorothy said to the Scarecrow in The Wizard of Oz, "I think I'll miss you most of all . . ."