Moody's Mood Was Always Happy
About playing jazz, Taylor once said, "Just because you make it look easy doesn't mean you didn't spend eight hours a day practicing the piano." Billy Taylor paid his dues but always made it look easy, as he did everything else in life.
Out and About
Although the jazz scene in Albuquerque has been as cold as the weather recently, I did manage to attend one concert, a tribute to Clifford Brown by trumpeter Bobby Shew's quintet, at Vernon's Steakhouse on December 10. Sharing the front line with Shew was Glenn Kostur, normally an alto player who moved to tenor to more closely epitomize the Clifford Brown-Max Roach Quintet, which employed such prominent tenors as Sonny Rollins, Harold Land and Teddy Edwards. Veteran drummer Cal Haines was joined in the rhythm section by a pair of newcomers: pianist Jim Ahrend (Los Angeles) and bassist Michael Glynn (Portland, OR). Betty was unable to come with me, and I stayed for only the first set, which included "Blues Walk," "Gertrude's Bounce" (by pianist Richie Powell who was killed with Clifford in that horrendous auto accident in June 1956), "Delilah," "Sweet Clifford," Brown's arrangement of "Stompin' at the Savoy," "Brownie Speaks" and Benny Golson's memorable tribute, "I Remember Clifford." The quintet re-created Brown's blazing solo on the rapid-fire "Brownie Speaks," which Shew had adapted for a concert in Europe some years ago. I hope the second set was as pleasing as the first, and that the group played such classics by Brownie as "Daahoud" and "Joy Spring." I'm sorry I couldn't stay but it was past my bedtime.
No News Is Good News?
I've not learned anything more since the initial announcement a few months back about the next Ken Poston-L.A. Jazz Institute event, the "Big Band Olympics," set for May 26-29 at the Los Angeles Airport Marriott Hotel. Last we heard, groups set to take part included bands led by Bill Holman, Michel Legrand, Rob Pronk, Chris Walden and John Altman; a Toshiko Akiyoshi-Lew Tabackin West Coast Reunion featuring Bobby Shew, Gary Foster and Steve Huffsteter; and tributes to the legendary Clarke-Boland Big Band and Rob McConnell and the Boss Brass (with appearances by Boss Brass alumni, and we hope that includes Guido Basso). For information, phone 562-200-5477 or go online to www.lajazzinstitute.org
And that's it for now. Until next time, keep swingin' . .. !
New and Noteworthy
1. Ray Brown's Great Big Band, Kayak (Brown Cats Productions)
2. Marcus Shelby Orchestra, Soul of the Movement (Porto Franco Records)
3. Dan Gailey Jazz Orchestra, What Did You Dream? (OA2)
4. Dani Felber Big Band, More Than Just Friends (No Label)
5. Navy Commodores, Directions (Commodores Jazz)
6. Bobby Watson / UMKC Jazz Orchestra, Gates BBQ Suite (Lafiya Music)
7. Buselli-Wallarab Jazz Orchestra, Mezzanine (Owl Studios)
8. Kurt Rosenwinkel and OJM, Our Secret World (Word of Mouth Music)
9. Mike Barone Big Band, Live 2005! Redux (Rhubarb Records)
10. Paquito D'Rivera / WDR Big Band, ImproviseOne (Connector Records)
11. University of North Texas One O'Clock Lab Band, Lab 2010 (UNT Jazz)
12. Stephen Guerra Big Band, Namesake (Bada Beep Music)
13. Seattle Repertory Jazz Orchestra,
14. Western Australia Youth Jazz Orchestra, Road to Red Hill (WAYJO)
15. Capital University Big Band, Swingin' Our Way Through Europe (CU Jazz)
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