Heigh Ho, Heigh Ho, It's Off To Jazz We Go . . .
Horns to Havana
Thanks to JAZZEd, the magazine of the Jazz Education Network (whose third annual Conference will be held January 4-7 in Louisville, KY), we've learned about a splendid program called Horns to Havana, which this month is sending a planeload of donated musical instruments to four Cuban music academies. Also on board will be a team of jazz musicians and brass, percussion and woodwind repair technicians. Horns to Havana was set up as a cultural interchange between the American jazz community and Cuban music students following a visit to the island in October 2010 by trumpeter Wynton Marsalis and the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra for a week of performances and workshops. For information about the program, go to www.hornstohavana.org
The Last of the Freshmen Are Gone
Bob Flanigan and Ross Barbour, the last remaining members of the groundbreaking Four Freshmen vocal quartet, died within a three-month span this summer. Flanigan, 84, passed away May 15 in Las Vegas; Barbour, 82, August 20 in Simi Valley, CA. Flanigan, who retired from performing in 1992 but continued as the Freshmen's manager until his death, was the group's original lead singer and doubled as trombonist. Barbour, whose brother Don was also a member of the group when it was formed at Butler University in Indianapolis, was a baritone who doubled on drums. The Four Freshmen played their first club date in Fort Wayne, IN, in September 1948. Two years later, bandleader Stan Kenton heard them singing in Dayton, OH, and arranged to have them record for Capitol Records. The Freshmen scored a hit in 1952 with "It's a Blue World" and followed that with other chart-toppers including "Mood Indigo," "Day by Day," "It Happened Once Before," "How Can I Tell Her?" and, in 1956, "Graduation Day," later covered by such groups as the Beach Boys. Besides the Beach Boys, the Freshmen are credited with having influenced the Lettermen, the Four Preps, the The Manhattan Transfer and other vocal groups. Between 1953-58 the Freshmen won DownBeat magazine's Readers Poll as best vocal group five times. The group continues performing today with new members Vince Johnson, Brian Eichenberger, Bob Ferreira and Curtis Calderon.
And that's it for now. Until next time, keep swingin' . . . !
New and Noteworthy
1. John MacLeod Rex Hotel Orchestra, Our First Set (no label)
2. Sammy Nestico / SWR Big Band, Fun Time and More Live (Haenssler)
3. Gordon Goodwin's Big Phat Band, That's How We Roll (Telarc)
4. Dave Stahl Band, From A to Z (Abee Cake)
5. Fred Hess Big Band, Into the Open (Alison)
6. Tempest Little Big Band, 'Round Midnight (Tempest Jazz)
7. Knoxville Jazz Orchestra, Fleet Street (Max Frank Music)
8. Peter Tenner Jazz Orchester, 10117 Berlin (Mons)
9. Dave Grusin, An Evening with Dave Grusin (Heads Up)
10. Tim Davies Big Band, Dialmentia (Origin)
11. Mt. Hood Jazz Band & Combos, Gan Bei (Sea Breeze Vista)
12. Magnetic Big Band, Repetition (Black & Blue)
13. Cal State-Long Beach Concert Jazz Orchestra, Great Northern Express (No Label)
14. Tromso Big Band, In Traffic (Turnleft)
15. U.S Naval Academy Band, Next Wave (USNA)