Another recording by one of Germany's many "amateur Jazz ensembles, sent by trumpeter Horst Koller with the usual disclaimer that "we are 100 percent nonï"professional musicians and . . . have produced the CD without professional assistance from a music company. No need to apologize, Horst; for nonï"professionals you sound pretty good to me. Collectively, the Caravan Big Band can hold its own with many of our best college bands. The weak link in the chain, as is the case with many such novice groups, lies with the soloists, who are on the whole no better than passable (with trumpeter Tobias Engel and saxophonist Frank Grob a step or so above that). Another stumbling block, sad to report, is singer Heidrun Bauer who is eager enough but not quite at home and comfortable with the English (or French) languages. She's heard on four selections ï" "Almost Like Being in Love, "Orangeï"Colored Sky, "Chanson d'Amour (recorded in concert in '95) and ï" including the verse ï" "Over the Rainbow, which I'm fond of saying takes guts if your last name isn't Garland. Most of the instrumentals are taken from the standard bigï"band repertoire ("Caravan, "Moten Swing, "Birdland, "Spain, "St. Louis Bues ) with two Basieï"style groovers by old reliable Sammy Nestico ("Magic Flea, "Hay Burner ) and a couple of newer charts by Jeff Jarvis ("Overdrive ) and Les Hooper ("Sittin' Pretty ). Caravan gives each of them its due, playing with intensity and awareness. And Horst, if that's you playing lead trumpet, take an extra bow; you've earned it. There's a photo of the band on the disc tray, and most of its members appear to be in their teens or early twenties. It's always refreshing to learn that young people in other countries are doing what they can to help keep bigï"band Jazz alive and swinging. We salute Caravan and director Franzï"Josef Schwade for swimming against the rising tide of sonic garbage to produce music that is praiseworthy and inspiring. I'm happy to have made Caravan's acquaintance, and think you would be too.
Track listing: Caravan; Moten Swing; Overdrive; God Bless the Child; Almost Like Being in Love; Birdland; Over the Rainbow; Magic Flea; Orange Colored Sky; Sittin' Pretty; Hay Burner; Spain; St. Louis Blues; Chanson d'Amor (55:44).
Franz?Josef Schwade, conductor; Horst Koller, Tobias Engel, Heinz Zinkand, Leander Strott, Nicole Grob, Sebastian Schwade, trumpet; Carsten Kirst, Bernhard Elsner, Johannes Goltz, Carmen Hahn, Friederike Herr, Marco G?rtner, trombone; Benjamin Engel, Eva?Maria Goltz, Frank Grob, Sandra Bolender, Michael Rehberg, Christian Herr, reeds; Veronika Sperzel, piano; Martin Leonhardt, guitar; J?rgen R?ttger, bass; Alexander Schwade, drums; Christian Engel, percussion; Heidrun Bauer, vocals.
I was first exposed to jazz circa 1973, when I met a fellow who ran Kappy's Record Store over near 10th Ave., on 42nd St. in NYC. We really clicked and when I told him I played piano and went to Music & Art HS, and had just started at City College of NY as a music major, he asked if I liked jazz...I said yes but I didn't know much about it, but that I did have sheet music for many popular 1920's through 1940's tunes by noted composers (Porter; Gershwins; Irving Berlin; Rodgers & Hammerstein/Hart; Jerome Kern; Lerner & Loewe; etc.) that my mother had sung beautifully starting in the 1940's including tons of famous show tunes, and I played many of those songs already
I was first exposed to jazz circa 1973, when I met a fellow who ran Kappy's Record Store over near 10th Ave., on 42nd St. in NYC. We really clicked and when I told him I played piano and went to Music & Art HS, and had just started at City College of NY as a music major, he asked if I liked jazz...I said yes but I didn't know much about it, but that I did have sheet music for many popular 1920's through 1940's tunes by noted composers (Porter; Gershwins; Irving Berlin; Rodgers & Hammerstein/Hart; Jerome Kern; Lerner & Loewe; etc.) that my mother had sung beautifully starting in the 1940's including tons of famous show tunes, and I played many of those songs already. SOOOO... he started me off LP's by Oscar Peterson, Art Tatum, Bud Powell, Errol Garner, Bill Evans, Monty Alexander, Charlie Byrd, and Dave Brubeck... does it get any better than that? ...No, it doesn't. I was hooked!!
I met and had a master class with the late music giant John Lewis, leader of the Modern Jazz Quartet! This was at CCNY in 1977. I was blessed! It was an incredible class... how could it have been anything else?!?!
The first jazz record I bought was...I bought numerous records from my friend at the record store, as mentioned above. He introduced me to nothing but music giants/legends! I think The Dave Brubeck Quartet, Greatest Hits, was actually the first one.
My advice to new listeners... study first--understand the rudiments--solfeggio, keys, scales, and basic chords. Read a book or take a class that includes the study of chord progressions, especially in jazz. It should ideally be a piano class so you can play multiple notes together. Have a good EAR or else it's not really worth it in my view...to become a musician, a good EAR for music is about as fundamental as breathing! Learn to read chord charts--i.e., lead sheets - wherein you play various voicings of the chords--major, minor, dominant 7th (alterations of these, you can learn over time - the basic chords are most important for starters), plus the melody, on the piano or keyboard. If you have to read the exact notes, then it's not the same as actually internalizing it & getting it all into your head. If you can do this, I think you're ready not only for listening to jazz, but understanding many concepts of it! Of course...anyone can listen to jazz... but I think it's so good to also have a grasp of it.