Travel Notes, the seventh album by the Western Michigan University Jazz Orchestra, is much like the first half-dozen: big-band jazz whose design and performance are as consistently strong and artistic as one can envision at any level. Tom Knific, WMU's director of Jazz Studies since 2000, has a keen ear for engaging songs, one of which is his own sunny composition, That Day in May," sandwiched nicely between a pair of themes by bassist John Clayton-- the tasteful, well-grooved opener, Blues for Stephanie," and robust, gospel-flavored Reverence." Rounding out the impressive studio date are trumpeter Tim Hagans' ...read more
Lines of Influence is an energetic and exciting modern jazz release by multi-talented bassist/accomplished jazz educator Tom Knific. Featuring several generations of past students alongside his son, John, Knific has assembled an ensemble that not only represents his accomplishments as an educator and mentor, but performs at a level that only a working band can. Their interaction has been formed over several years of jamming, rehearsing and gigging together in various venues across the Midwest. Their years of experience culminate in an album that not only reflects the extraordinary individual talent each musician possesses, but the feeling of ...read more
As a rule, I've always found it a pleasure to listen to albums that feature a combo led by a bassist, and this one is no exception. Tom Knific, a Professor of Double-Bass and Director of Jazz Studies at Western Michigan University, here presents a well-rounded look at the jazz ballad. There are no star turns or long solos, despite the presence of many players who are fully capable of providing them.
Pianist Fred Hersch appears on two tracks with Knific and drummer Tim Froncek for a very Bill Evans-ish If I Should Lose You" and the original ...read more
Tom Knific is an invisible jazzman, one of those people who live playing music, while known to few but the musicians. Work on soundtracks, theater pit bands, and studio pop dates are the common way to do this, but the last twenty years have brought another avenue: jazz education in universities. Steady work and steady pay, the chance to tour and record in the summer - tenure! It is an attractive path to take, and of late many fine musicians have taken this route. One such musician is Tom Knific, a bass instructor at Western Michigan University. He shows his ...read more