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Jazz Heritage Radio Broadcasts 2019 Highpoint for USAF Airmen of Note

Chris M. Slawecki By

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Barron steps out with his original "Golden Lotus," an exotic masterpiece of rhythm and sound that spreads a colorful blanket from which the Airmen of Note horn soloists conjure up wonderfully Eastern sounds. But he shifts quickly into his "NY Attitude," which rockets out of its start and features MSG Ben Patterson ripping and roaring through his trombone solo; Patterson's frantic energy seems to inspire Barron, who powers through his own blues riffs like a ravenous jackhammer and scrambles in several directions at once. "The title kind of speaks for itself, if you've ever lived in New York," Barron suggests. "Or if you've ever driven a car in New York."

Barron and the Airmen arrange "You Don't Know What Love Is" as a gorgeous blues in feeling but not in structure, with the pianist ruminating over his notes like a lover lost in reverie, a deep and intimate blues feeling that also beams from the ensemble's accompaniment. Barron then dives into a masterful solo passage full of complex music but basic emotion, until the woodwinds and brass return to lead the piano into the still of the night.

"Voyage," another Barron composition, ventures into more up-tempo and dynamic jazz. This walking bass line quickly breaks into a gallop that provides the launchpad for tenor sax and electric guitar solos that overflow with the joy of spontaneous ensemble creation; bonus kudos to drummer MSgt David McDonald, who keeps dropping bombs to keep this beat jumping.

Branford Marsalis Radio Broadcast

Like their performances with Aimée and Barron, the Airmen of Note open their Branford Marsalis radio broadcast with a hot, high and hard-charging instrumental, this time the traditional Japanese folk song "Sakura."

Marsalis' tenor in John Coltrane's "Syeeda's Song Flute" seems to lean but not bend in the composer's direction. Marsalis' playing sounds sinewy and strong, a dashing jazz figure draped in the ensemble's fine orchestral threads even while stretching the limits of the music and his instrument. Pianist TSG Chris Zlemba starts his solo in mainstream jazz but quickly takes it to other more far-off and far-out places, igniting a drum solo that calls the big band back together into momentous swing. Marsalis brings a much more lugubrious sound and feeling, plus shades and highlights from the Orient, to Wayne Shorter's "Infant Eyes."

"The Mixup" slows the tempo down into a cool simmer, with Marsalis gliding swivel-hipped like the coolest of cats on top of the first section's Horace Silver style funky piano blues, and blasting through the second section with bursts of staccato blues. Marsalis and the Airmen stretch out even more into "The Night Has a Thousand Eyes," sounding like they're having a thoroughly wonderful time as they explore every crack, corner and crevice in the rhythm section's swinging tempo and glorious horn blast.

"Jazz is so hard to play and we fall in love with complexity. The root of complexity is simplicity," Marsalis thoughtfully suggests in his Radio Broadcasts interview. "We don't spend enough time dealing with simplicity so then we double down on complexity, and the music becomes more and more detached from a regular audience— because of our inability to play simple things."

Tracks and Personnel:

Global Reach

Tracks: Sakura; La Levenda Del Tiempo; Remembering; Obiero; Michelangelo '70; Arirang; Blackbird; Dama Dam Mast Qalandar; Inutil Paisagem; Itsbynne Reel.

Personnel: Technical Sgt. Mike Cemprola: alto saxophone, soprano saxophone, flute, alto flute; Senior Master Sgt. Tyler Kuebler: alto saxophone, soprano saxophone, flute, alto flute, piccolo flute; Master Sgt. Doug Morgan: baritone saxophone, bass clarinet; TSgt Cameron Kayne: bass; MSgt Benjamin Polk: bass trombone; MSgt David McDonald: drums, percussion; MSgt Geoff Reecer: guitar; TSgt Chris Ziemba: piano, electric piano; MSgt Grant Langford: tenor saxophone, clarinet; MSgt Tedd Baker: tenor sax, flute, clarinet; MSgt. Ben Patterson: trombone; MSgt Jeff Martin: trombone; MSgt Kevin Cerovich: trombone; SMSgt Brian MacDonald: trumpet; CMSgt Kevin Burns: trumpet; TSgt Logan Keese: trumpet; TSgt Luke Brandon: trumpet; TSgt Paige Wroble: vocals.

Jazz Heritage Series 2019 Radio Broadcasts

Airmen of Note with Cyrille Aimée

Tracks: The US Air Force Song; Take It to the Ozone; Visions; What a Little Moonlight Can Do; America the Beautiful; September in the Rain; Sometimes I'm Happy; Cheek to Cheek; You're a Grand Old Flag; Long as You're Living; Yardbird Suite; The US Air Force Song.

Airmen of Note with Kenny Barron

Tracks: The US Air Force Song; Thou Swell; New York Attitude; Golden Lotus; America the Beautiful; You Don't Know What Love Is; Voyage; The US Air Force Song.

Airmen of Note with Branford Marsalis

Tracks: The US Air Force Song; Sakura; I'll Close My Eyes; Syeeda's Song Flute; God Bless America; Infant Eyes; The Mixup; The Night Has a Thousand Eyes; Panama; The US Air Force Song.

Personnel: Cyrille Aimée: vocals; Kenny Barron: piano; Branford Marsalis: tenor saxophone; Senior Master Sergeant Tyler Kuebler: lead alto saxophone; Technical Sergeant Mike Cemprola: second alto saxophone; Master Sergeant Tedd Baker: first tenor saxophone; MSgt Grant Langford: second tenor saxophone; MSgt Douglas Morgan: baritone saxophone; SMSgt Brian MacDonald: lead trumpet; Chief Master Sergeant: split lead trumpet; TSgt Luke Brandon: third trumpet; TSgt Logan Keese: fourth trumpet; MSgt Ben Patterson: lead trombone; MSgt Jeff Martin: second trombone; MSgt Kevin Cerovich: third trombone; MSgt Benjamin Polk: bass; MSgt Geoff Reecer: guitar; TSgt Chris Ziemba: piano; TSgt Cameron Kayne: bass; MSgt David McDonald; drums; TSgt Paige Wroble: vocals.
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