After 15 Years, a "Caravan" Ends Its Journey
In Other News...
Now is the time to start planning ahead, as Los Angeles becomes a magnet for big-band talent next May 23-26 when the L.A. Jazz Institute hosts a "Big Band Spectacular" at the Los Angeles Airport Marriott Hotel. Recognize any of these namesBill Holman, Gordon Goodwin, Tom Kubis, Bob Curnow, Roger Neumann, Kim Richmond, Mike Barone, Steve Huffsteter? They'll all be there, along with a number of others who've yet to be announced. This in addition to the usual films, panel discussions and special events. For information, phone 562-200-5477 or go online to www.lajazzinstitute.org
"Dream Band" or Nightmare?
People have asked me from time to time about a "dream band," what musicians I'd choose to comprise the brass, reed and rhythm sections. The short answer is, that's impossible. There have simply been too many outstanding musicians in the history of big-band jazz to narrow the field to less than twenty; even after eliminating the names of those who were best known in other contexts (that is, as soloists or with smaller groups), the sheer number of superlative sidemen (and a handful of women) is staggering. The one issue I could resolve without any ambivalence is that of the drum chair, as to me, no one has ever surpassed Buddy Rich, but even there it's a matter of opinion, nothing more, as the competition is fierce with the likes of Louie Bellson, Chick Webb, Gene Krupa Big Sid Catlett, Jo Jones, Sam Woodyard, Dave Tough, Sonny Payne, Tiny Kahn, Stan Levey, Kenny Clarke, Shelly Manne, Mel Lewis, Frank Capp, Butch Miles, Jeff Hamilton and others making impressive cases. The other chairs are literally up for grabs. Lead trumpet? Take your pick from among hundreds, if not thousands, of high-flying foremen who have presided over big bands through the years. Tenor sax? Well, my main man has always been the incomparable Zoot Sims (a natural-born swinger who could sight-read almost any book), but I wouldn't go so far as to say he's one of the two best tenors who ever graced a big band. There have been too many others. And so it goes with every chair. Choosing a "dream band," as it turns out, is more akin to a nightmare, one that I will happily bequeath to others.
And that's it for now. Until next time, keep swingin...'!
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