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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.
Years ago now--in Rhodesia--listening to Voice of America with Willis Conover I heard Bunk Johnson play When The Saints Go Marching In, and Billie Holiday sing Don't Explain. I knew then there was no other life for me than jazz.