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BIG BAND REPORT

Bob Brookmeyer: Jack of All Trades, Master of Valves

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Bob Brookmeyer, a Renaissance man among jazz musicians who died December 15, 2011, four days before his eighty-second birthday, will be remembered as many things: composer, arranger, musician, educator, outspoken arbiter who brooked no nonsense and wasn't shy about letting others know when he believed they were not giving the music he loved the best they had to offer. What I remember best about Brookmeyer was the lithe, ever-swinging valve trombone that complemented such luminaries as Stan Getz, Gerry Mulligan, Zoot Sims, Jimmy Giuffre, Clark Terry and others during the 1950s and 1960s, epitomizing his Kansas City heritage in a ...

EXTENDED ANALYSIS

Mosaic Select 9: Bob Brookmeyer

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Bob BrookmeyerMosaic Select 9 Mosaic Records Although he continues to be a valued jazz artist recording occasionally, the state of Bob Brookmeyer's early catalog until recently was inexplicably in a state of disarray. Of course, we still haven't seen CD reissues of such vintage Verve sides like The Blues, Hot and Cold or the Mercury set Jazz Is a Kick, but things have been looking up since the appearance of this new Select reissue that brings together several choice albums including his previously hard-to-come-by United Artists dates from 1958.This three-disc set ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Bill Evans and Bob Brookmeyer: The Ivory Hunters

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Yes, that's Bob Brookmeyer the valve trombonist, and it's Bill Evans the pianist who, during the same year as this recording, would appear with Miles Davis on the fabled Kind of Blue session (Columbia, 1959). Some listeners will no doubt be familiar with the session, originally issued by United Artists under Brookmeyer's name and with the descriptive sub-title “Double-Barrelled Piano." But if you're hearing about this curious match-up for the first time, and close to the beginning of April at that, be assured that neither Brookmeyer's listing as a “pianist" nor his playing of the instrument is a joke.

The ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Bob Brookmeyer and the New Art Orchestra: Spirit Music

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Clever title this, even though perchance unintended. Bob Brookmeyer (in his 76th year) and the impressive New Art Orchestra have recorded their fifth album, and first for ArtistShare, Spirit Music--in other words, the “Spirit of '76. Brookmeyer doesn't mention that in the liner notes, preferring to let others read between the lines and saying only that to circumvent “a routine that had developed [with the NAO] over the past ten years," he had “used a combination of new and recently composed (but never recorded) compositions, trying to select combinations and sequences that would make a good program.

The question thus ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Bob Brookmeyer New Art Orchestra: Get Well Soon

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Get Well Soon is the third recording by the New Art Orchestra, an eighteen-piece ensemble formed nearly two decades ago in Lubeck, Germany, as a jazz component of the Schleswig-Holstein Music Festival and overseen since its inception by the renowned American trombonist and composer, Bob Brookmeyer. Brookmeyer loves the NAO ("It has been my good fortune to become associated with an incredible group of people," he says. “They love what they do, they thrive on their friendships, and they give everything they have to me and my music")--and the NAO loves him back, the proof of which is readily apparent ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Bob Brookmeyer: Stay Out of the Sun

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In valve trombonist Bob Brookmeyer's biography, one can trace the map of jazz's history, both musical and personal. Brookmeyer has spent time in many of jazz's major ensembles, including Basie, Thornhill, Ellington and Lewis, and small groups, playing with Mulligan, Getz, Giuffre and Mingus. Along the way he has taken part in and contributed to the music's orchestral and instrumental innovations. He has also unfortunately experienced one of jazz's major tragedies: substance addiction, a disease that nearly cost him everything.

In the late '70s Brookmeyer met drummer Michael Stephans, and, according to the trombonist, Stephans kept him playing. ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Ted Rosenthal / Bob Brookmeyer: One Night in Vermont

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Yes, beautiful music is still being played, and played beautifully as well. Doubters need only check out this bright and refreshing hour-long recital by pianist Ted Rosenthal and valve trombonist Bob Brookmeyer, recorded in August ‘01 at the Memorial Hall Center for the Arts in Wilmington, VT.

Much like the chicken and the egg, this is a case of which component one admires more, the music or the musicians. Any program that includes two songs by Jerome Kern and one each by Cole Porter, George and Ira Gershwin, Jimmy van Heusen and Irving Berlin, plus Bob Haggart/Johnny Burke’s enduring ballad ...



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