Learn How

We need your help in 2018

Support All About Jazz All About Jazz is looking for 1,000 backers to help fund our 2018 projects that directly support jazz. You can make this happen by purchasing ad space or by making a donation to our fund drive. In addition to completing every project (listed here), we'll also hide all Google ads and present exclusive content for a full year!

218

The DVC Night Jazz Band: Featuring Toshiko Akiyoshi

Jack Bowers By

Sign in to view read count
The DVC above stands for Diablo Valley College in Pleasant Hills, CA. DVC is quite proud of its Jazz Studies program, as well it should be with more than five hundred students helping to support four big bands, four smaller combos, three vocal groups, a summer clinic supervised by master educator Jamey Aebersold, and classes and seminars on Jazz theory, improvisation and history. This is the second album by the DVC Night Jazz Band. The first one featured alto saxophonist Phil Woods; this time, Jazz Studies director Rory Snyder has enlisted the services of another long-time Jazz luminary, pianist / composer Toshiko Akiyoshi, to conduct the band and contribute two of her engaging themes, “March of the Tadpoles” and “Warning! Success May Be Hazardous to Your Health,” on both of which she doubles as conductor and pianist.

The members of the Night Band may be students but they certainly aren’t amateurs. Several of them have no doubt played with other bands, as the names of trumpeter Mike Olmos, trombonist Sandy Hughes and alto saxophonist Alex Murzyn were already known to me. Two who weren’t, trumpeter Gary Coartney and trombonist Jeanne Geiger, wrote “The Empty Space Inside” and “Perception Turns the Corner,” respectively. The ensemble also performs original works by Tom Kubis (“Marie’s Shuffle”), Chuck MacKinnon (“Wake Up Call”), Manfredo Fest (“Guararpes”) and Larry De La Cruz (“View of the Valley”), Monk’s “Straight, No Chaser” and Edgar Sampson / Benny Goodman’s “Don’t Be That Way,” the last featuring the six-member vocal group Natural Selection. Toshiko’s compositions were recorded in concert, the others in a studio (with notably better sound).

The aforementioned Olmos, Hughes and Murzyn are featured prominently as soloists, as is tenor saxophonist Guido Fazio (“Shuffle,” “Perception,” “Guararpes”). Others having their say include guitarist Greg Reginato, drummer T Moran, pianist Guy Grimstead and flugels Coartney (showcased on his meditative “Empty Space”) and Walt Beveridge. Murzyn is the main man on MacKinnon’s insistent “Wake Up Call.” Kubis, who seems incapable of writing anything less than charming, sets a breezy course with “Shuffle” and the ensemble takes it from there, working hard to navigate the slippery shoals of Toshiko’s “Warning!” and “Tadpoles,” the latter based, it seems, on “All the Things You Are.” Murzyn and Olmos have some of their best moments on “Straight, No Chaser,” whose snappy pace is quite agreeable. “Valley,” which closes the session, is a rhythmic charmer with cogent statements by Hughes, Grimstead and Moran and a dazzling soli by the brass.

After listening, it’s easy to understand why DVC and Snyder are so pleased with DVC’s flourishing Jazz Studies program. It’s a blue-chip enterprise, as is the DVC Night Jazz Band.


Title: Featuring Toshiko Akiyoshi | Year Released: 2004


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Shadow Work CD/LP/Track Review Shadow Work
by Phil Barnes
Published: November 22, 2017
Read Veterans of Jazz CD/LP/Track Review Veterans of Jazz
by Mark Sullivan
Published: November 22, 2017
Read Ariel CD/LP/Track Review Ariel
by Paul Rauch
Published: November 22, 2017
Read Fukushima CD/LP/Track Review Fukushima
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: November 22, 2017
Read Dedication CD/LP/Track Review Dedication
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: November 21, 2017
Read Surface of Inscription CD/LP/Track Review Surface of Inscription
by Glenn Astarita
Published: November 21, 2017
Read "Rímur" CD/LP/Track Review Rímur
by Henning Bolte
Published: March 1, 2017
Read "The Arrangement" CD/LP/Track Review The Arrangement
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: June 11, 2017
Read "Trane 90" CD/LP/Track Review Trane 90
by Jim Trageser
Published: December 1, 2016
Read "Soul Garden" CD/LP/Track Review Soul Garden
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: April 29, 2017
Read "Better Left Unsung" CD/LP/Track Review Better Left Unsung
by Doug Collette
Published: December 10, 2016
Read "Not This Time" CD/LP/Track Review Not This Time
by Franz A. Matzner
Published: March 5, 2017

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!

Please support out sponsor