As the countdown continues toward the last Big Band Report in June, the time has come to point fingers and name names--in other words, to compile a short list of contemporary jazz musicians who have risen above the norm to help make life more pleasurable for one devoted listener. These are, mind you, personal choices, and the list is far from inclusive; while some of the names may be new to you, rest assured they have earned their places. You may notice that no guitarists or bassists are named, and there's a reason for that: most of them sound about ...read more
James Moody, whose noble spirit and radiant personality were as impressive as his exploits on saxophone and flute for more than six decades, died December 9, 2010 from pancreatic cancer at his home in San Diego. He was 85 years old. To anyone who was lucky enough to meet him, the Moody hug was unforgettable: a warm, good-natured embrace accompanied by a smile as wide as the horizon. Moody's personality was the same: friendly, outgoing, overflowing with geniality and humor. Although he never took himself too seriously, music was another matter. From the time he was a ...read more
Having surveyed last month the generally deplorable state of Jazz, especially big-band Jazz, here in the Lower Forty-Eight, it's good to be able to usher in the New Year with better news in the form of a response to that column from Randy James who writes in part:
I live in Fort Worth [Texas], which is thirty minutes south of Denton, where the famous One O'Clock Lab Band at [the University of] North Texas resides. I attend the fall concert [there] every year, and every year it sells out (the concert was last week, with [saxophonist] Dick Oatts guesting). Also, ...read more
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