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Big Band Report

Pointing Fingers... And Naming Names

By Published: May 4, 2013
As for big bands, in spite of their always-imminent demise there are a large number of superlative ensembles on the scene both here and abroad, some led by names already mentioned, others by the likes of Bill Holman
Bill Holman
Bill Holman

band/orchestra
, Tom Kubis, Mike Barone
Mike Barone
b.1936
, (trumpeter) Ray Brown
Ray Brown
Ray Brown
1926 - 2002
bass, acoustic
, Kenichi Tsunoda, Michael Treni, Gordon Goodwin
Gordon Goodwin
Gordon Goodwin
b.1955
composer/conductor
, Maria Schneider
Maria Schneider
Maria Schneider

band/orchestra
, Bob Curnow, Jon Altman, Gary Urwin
Gary Urwin
Gary Urwin

band/orchestra
, Jack Cortner
Jack Cortner

arranger
, George Stone, Rodger Fox
Rodger Fox
b.1953
trombone
, Steve Owen, Cecilia Coleman
Cecilia Coleman
Cecilia Coleman
b.1962
piano
and Vaughn Wiester, as well as DIVA, the Metropole Orchestra, No Name Horses, the SWR and SDR Big Bands, the Jazz Orchestra of the Concertgebouw, Britain's Midland, Wigan and National Youth Jazz Orchestras (and Fat Chops Big Band), Germany's BuJazzO, topnotch regional ensembles in Dallas, Columbus, Chicago, Denver and elsewhere, and big bands on almost every decent-size college campus in the U.S. and Canada. Mind you, that's off the top of my head. Even with its many trials and tribulations (including an aging and ever-shrinking audience), the immediate future of contemporary jazz appears to be bright and strong.

The Jazz Hall of Fame

Jazz at Lincoln Center announced in April the induction of Art Blakey
Art Blakey
Art Blakey
1919 - 1990
drums
, Lionel Hampton
Lionel Hampton
Lionel Hampton
1908 - 2002
vibraphone
and Clark Terry
Clark Terry
Clark Terry
b.1920
trumpet
into the Nesuhi Ertegun Jazz Hall of Fame. The three will be honored in a ceremony June 4 at Dizzy's Club Coca-Cola at JALC in New York City. This year's nominees were chosen by a committee of scholars and musicians and voted on by jazz fans around the world. The committee was comprised of Ed Berger, Bill Charlap
Bill Charlap
Bill Charlap
b.1966
piano
, Connie Crothers
Connie Crothers
Connie Crothers
b.1941
piano
, Stanley Crouch, Jon Faddis
Jon Faddis
Jon Faddis
b.1953
trumpet
, Vince Giordano
Vince Giordano
Vince Giordano
b.1952
composer/conductor
, Wynton Marsalis
Wynton Marsalis
Wynton Marsalis
b.1961
trumpet
, Dianne Reeves
Dianne Reeves
Dianne Reeves
b.1956
vocalist
, Phil Schaap, Loren Schoenberg
Loren Schoenberg
Loren Schoenberg
b.1958
saxophone
and Spike Wilner
Spike Wilner
Spike Wilner

piano
. Blakey and Hampton will be inducted posthumously; it is unlikely that Terry, who has lost both legs to diabetes, will be able to attend the ceremony. To date, Jazz at Lincoln Center has inducted forty-one members into the NEJHF.

Marking Woody's Centenary

On May 16, the one hundredth anniversary of Woody Herman
Woody Herman
Woody Herman
1913 - 1987
band/orchestra
's birth, the Pecos River Brass Band directed by John C. Smith will present a memorial concert at the Irving (TX) Fine Arts Center with guest trombonist Phil Wilson
Phil Wilson
b.1937
who has written a suite for Woody that the band will perform. For information, e-mail john@pecosriverbrass.com or go online to www.pecosriverbrass.com/band

Big-Band Jazz Camps

There's a nice two-page article in the March '13 issue of the Jazz Education Network's JAZZed magazine about bassist Jim Widner's Stan Kenton
Stan Kenton
Stan Kenton
1911 - 1979
piano
-style jazz camps, which Widner and his big band have been hosting on college campuses for twenty-five years. Widner, a founding member of JEN, is director of Jazz Studies at the University of Missouri-St. Louis. He was a member of the Kenton orchestra when it established the first Stan Kenton Band Clinic in 1967 at Redlands and San Diego State universities in California, and formed his own band in 1988 to carry on Kenton's work with students. To mark the twenty-fifth anniversary, Widner's ensemble has released a new CD, The Beat Goes On.

Recent Big-Band Releases

The Dave Lalama Big Band
The Hofstra Project
Self Published
2013

If Dave Lalama's name rings a bell, it could be because his brother, Ralph, is a top-rank tenor saxophonist in New York City and longtime member of the Vanguard Jazz Orchestra who has recorded often with jazz luminaries at home and abroad. While Dave, a composer / pianist, has kept a somewhat lower profile, he hasn't fared poorly either, having performed, recorded and arranged for the likes of Woody Herman
Woody Herman
Woody Herman
1913 - 1987
band/orchestra
, Dizzy Gillespie
Dizzy Gillespie
Dizzy Gillespie
1917 - 1993
trumpet
, Stan Getz
Stan Getz
Stan Getz
1927 - 1991
sax, tenor
, Woody Shaw
Woody Shaw
Woody Shaw
1944 - 1989
trumpet
, Bobby Watson
Bobby Watson
Bobby Watson
b.1953
sax, alto
, Mike Stern
Mike Stern
Mike Stern
b.1953
guitar
and others while carving a niche in academia as associate chair of the Music Department at Hofstra University in Hempstead, NY, and as a teacher of composing and arranging at the Manhattan School of Music. For his first album as leader of a big band, Lalama chose to honor the many musical and personal relationships that have shaped his professional and personal life by assembling a number of alumni, faculty members and guest artists (including brother Ralph) to produce The Hofstra Project, featuring half a dozen compositions and all arrangements by the leader.


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