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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 it mixes intellect and emotion in a very spontaneous way.
I was first exposed to jazz by liberating a Coltrane and a Pharoah Sanders record from a friend in NYC and listening to them over and over until I got it.
My advice to new listeners is you have to take the time to listen to some jazz tunes a number of times until it starts to make sense.