With the end of the year peeking demurely over the horizon, it's a good time to glance over one's shoulder and concede that 2007 has yielded yet another bumper crop of big-band recordings. Yes, I am as puzzled as you are as to why this should be. After all, big bands, as we are told repeatedly, are dead and gone, never to return. Lively corpses, I'd say, and in some cases literally so, as among the "new releases are CDs by the Stan Kenton, Buddy Rich, Bobby Burgess, Maynard Ferguson, Gene Krupa and Illinois Jacquet bands.
Among those who are still with us, it's always a kick to hear new albums by the likes of Mike Barone, Wayne Bergeron, Blue Wisp, John Fedchock, Bob Florence, Bill Holman, Don Menza, Rob Parton, Jim Widner and Gerald Wilson, all of whom came through with flying colors in '07.
I love jazz because next to my kids, it's the love of my life.
I was first exposed to jazz by Joe Rico from a tiny station in Niagara Falls in 1954 when I was 13.
The best show I ever attended was Maynard Ferguson who blew the roof off Massey Hall in the late 50s.
My advice to new listeners is to listen to everything you can and then listen again.