Bob Brookmeyer: Jack of All Trades, Master of Valves
Clem DeRosa, who began his long career in music as a drummer and played during World War II in one of Glenn Miller's Army Air Corps bands, died December 20. He was eighty-seven years old. After the war, DeRosa performed with a number of stars including Charles Mingus, Marian McPartland, Teo Macero, Teddy Wilson, Thad Jones, Ben Webster, Clark Terry, Phil Woods, Coleman Hawkins, John LaPorta, Bobby Hackett and others. He was best known, however, as a leading pioneer of jazz education whose professional-sounding student ensembles performed on the Johnny Carson and Merv Griffin television shows. DeRosa, a co-founder and later president of the International Association of Jazz Educators, taught at Columbia University's Teachers College while continuing to perform and later to lead contemporary versions of the Glenn Miller, Jimmy Dorsey and Benny Goodman orchestras. He also worked closely with Stan Kenton in jazz clinics that were started in the early 1960s. DeRosa was inducted into the IAJE Hall of Fame in 1990, about a decade before he established American Jazz Venues, a non-profit group dedicated to presenting the music to newer and younger audiences, principally through its musical voice, the American Jazz Repertory Orchestra. DeRosa's older son, Richard, is head of jazz composition at the University of North Texas in Denton. He is also survived by his wife, Shirley; a daughter, Dianne, and son, Gary.
Swing Central Jazz
A dozen of the country's top high school jazz bands have been chosen to take part in the seventh annual edition of the Swing Central Jazz band competition and workshop, sponsored by the Savannah (GA) Music Festival. Participating students work with jazz mentors for three days, perform in showcases on Savannah's River Street, play in competition rounds and attend a variety of SMF performances during the event, which takes place March 28-30. The bands also compete for $13,000 in cash awards.
Bands scheduled to take part are the Advanced Jazz Band from Battle Ground (WA) High School; Agoura Hills (CA) High School Studio Jazz Band; Champaign (IL) Central High School Jazz Ensemble and Stage Band; Dillard Center for the Arts Jazz Ensemble (Fort Lauderdale, FL); Hume Fogg Academic High School Jazz Band (Nashville, TN); Leon High School Jazz Ensemble 1 (Tallahassee, FL); Lower Moreland (PA) High School Jazz Ensemble; Mount Si High School Jazz Band 1 (Snoqualmie, WA); Newport High School Jazz 1 (Bellevue, WA); Temple (TX) Highlighters; and Lovett School Jazz Ensemble (Atlanta, GA).
The Swing Central Jazz clinicians are Jim Ketch, Sean Jones, Terell Stafford, trumpet; Jeff Clayton, Bill Kennedy, Jack Wilkins, saxophone; Wycliffe Gordon, Ron Westray, Paul McKee, trombone; Dave Stryker, guitar; Jason Marsalis, Leon Anderson, Herlin Riley, drums; Rodney Whitaker, Rodney Jordan, Jeffry Eckels, bass; Marcus Roberts, Bill Peterson, Aaron Diehl, Kevin Bales, piano.
The three top-scoring bands receive honorariums ($5,000 for first place, $2,500 for second, $1,000 for third) and perform the opening set at the SMF production "Swingin' & Wailin.'" Other bands receive a $500 travel stipend. For information about the Savannah Music Festival, contact Ryan McMaken (firstname.lastname@example.org) or phone 912-234-3378, ext. 104.
Big Bands Are Still Out There
And you can hear some of the best in the New York area performing on selected Tuesday evenings at the New York City Baha'i Center, 53 E. 11th Street (between University Place and Broadway). General admission is $15, $10 for students. On February 14, the Frank Perowsky Big Band performs two shows, at 8:00 and 9:30 p.m. For information, phone 212-222-5159.