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Big Band Report

Jacksonville: Big City, Big Band, Big Plans

By Published: August 5, 2009
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Bassist Pete Chivily, an alumnus of the Stan Kenton

Stan Kenton
Stan Kenton
1911 - 1979
piano
Orchestra who performed with such luminaries as Frank Sinatra
Frank Sinatra
Frank Sinatra
1915 - 1998
vocalist
, June Christy
June Christy
June Christy
1925 - 1990
vocalist
and the Four Freshmen, died May 6 in Hicksville, NY. He was 68 years old. With Kenton's orchestra, Chivily was heard on the albums Cuban Fire, A Merry Christmas and Kenton's West Side Story. As recently as 2002, he recorded Then and Now with Dennis Bell
Dennis Bell
Dennis Bell

piano
, and was honored more recently by the NY State Assembly as a Legend of Jazz for his contributions to the arts.

Who's on First?

I seldom comment on so-called Jazz Festivals, preferring to vote with my feet, but a flyer I received from Jazz Aspen Snowmass left me speechless, my lower jaw hanging as if unattached to my face. This year's "headliners" include the Allman Brothers Band

Allman Brothers Band
Allman Brothers Band

band/orchestra
Band, Black Eyed Peas, the Doobie Brothers, Michael Franti, Citizen Cope, Umphrey's McGee
Umphrey's McGee

band/orchestra
and the Drive By Truckers. Say what? Okay, I do recognize a couple of names (Allman, Doobie) but not in any jazz context I can recall. I know these events have to make money, but why call them jazz festivals? They seem to have about as much kinship to jazz as Guy Lombardo
Guy Lombardo
1902 - 1977
composer/conductor
or Lawrence Welk. As a lifelong jazz fan, I'm somewhat troubled by festivals such as Snowmass who (mis)use the name "jazz" as a basis for presenting rock and other forms of "pop" music to an audience. Perhaps some of the above-named are "jazz" artists, but I've heard nothing to bear that out. In the final analysis, however, my opinion carries about as much weight as a bulimic super-model. "Jazz Aspen Snowmass" will continue as before, and perhaps that's a good thing, as the thousands who attend may at least think they are hearing jazz and be more open to the real thing should it ever stray past their ears.

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


New and Noteworthy

1. Bob Florence Limited Edition, Legendary (MAMA)
2. Paul Ferguson Jazz Orchestra, Live at the Bop Stop (Azica)
3. Resonance Big Band, Plays Tribute to Oscar Peterson (Resonance)
4. Dave Siebels, With Gordon Goodwin's Big Phat Band (PBGL)
5. Jason Hainsworth, Kaleidoscope (DW Jazz)
6. Vaughn Wiester, Herb-al Remedy (BRC)
7. University of Northern Iowa, Thinking Globally, Acting Locally (UNI Jazz)
8. The London Horn Sound, Give It One (Cala Records)
9. DePaul University Jazz Ensemble, Next Season (DePaul Jazz)
10. Portland Jazz Orchestra, Good Morning, Geek (PJO)
11. Dave Rivello Ensemble, Facing the Mirror (Allora Records)
12. Howard University Jazz Ensemble, HUJE 2008 (HUJE Jazz)
13. Jentsch Group Large, Cycles (Fleur de Son)
14. Fat Cat Big Band, Meditations on the War (Smalls)
15. Northeastern Oklahoma State Jazz Ensemble, Global Citizen (no label)



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