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Los Angeles Jazz Institute Festival - Woodchopper's Ball: Part 1-4


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Los Angeles Jazz Institute Festival "Woodchoppers' Ball"
Four Points by Sheraton at LAX
Los Angeles, CA
May 23-27, 2018

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4

The Los Angeles Jazz Institute (LAJI), under Ken Poston, has continued for some thirty years to keep alive and celebrate jazz and its rich legacy, largely, but not exclusively, focused on West Coast Jazz, curating a large archive of recorded music, scores, film, and general memorabilia and presenting live music performances. It also releases special rare recordings on CD. Twice each year the LAJI presents a first-class, four-and-a-half day festival, in late May and in late October, generally built around a theme or the work of a particular significant musician. Drawing upon their large archive of musical scores, and a large group of mainly Los Angeles-based jazz musicians, young and not-so-young, and special guests, the festival re-creates a feast of marvelous, historically important music, and draws visitors from across the USA, and from further afield -UK, Europe, Australia and beyond. In addition to the outstanding musical performances, Ken Poston incorporates fascinating and well-sourced, daily film sessions pertinent to the music being presented, and stimulating, daily panel discussions with the musicians. Many of those in the audience have attended these festivals for many years and have had repeated rich experiences of a wide range of music, and have connected regularly in person with a large array of the great jazz musicians past and present who continue to commit their talents and time to these excellent musical events. From a musical standpoint, these festivals create vital crossroads between the old and the new -timeless musical arrangements brought to life by a cross-generational mix of fine musicians who play the charts authentically and with great care, whilst bringing the freshness of their often more contemporary improvised solos. Old bottles, new wine, as they say.

Recently they presented a marvelous celebration of the music of the great bandleader Woody Herman. Over five decades beginning in the mid 1930s, Herman presided over an evolving big band that repeatedly reshaped the sound-scape of jazz, with an ever-expanding repertoire of music written by young up-and-coming composer/arrangers and brilliant lineups of young, innovative musicians who would fill its sections and aspire to its soloist ranks. Woody was an incredible leader and talent scout, and many jazz musician's careers were given healthy exposure and a kick-start from their tenures with Woody. This festival featured many distinguished Herman alumni—among them vibraphonist Terry Gibbs, at 93, probably the only 2nd Herd alumnus still alive, in an enthralling panel/interview; trumpeters Bobby Shew, Mark Lewis and Ron Stout; trombonist John Fedchock, tenor saxophonists Frank Tiberi, Larry McKenna, Roger Neumann, Gary Anderson, Jerry Pinter, baritonist Mike Brignola; pianist Alan Broadbent, drummers Jeff Hamilton and Jim Rupp. Whilst these alumni were prominent in the many ensembles, many other outstanding players were featured in each of the bands and contributed outstanding solos. There was opportunity to hear many fine clarinetists wearing the Woody clarinet 'mantle' in various concerts—Ken Peplowski, Alex Budman, Kim Richmond, Frank Tiberi and others. Other outstanding soloists who were well featured included trombonists Scott Whitfield and Dan Barrett paying tribute to Carl Fontana and Bill Harris, respectively, tenor saxophonists Don Menza and Harry Allen, in tributes to Stan Getz and Flip Phillips. Featured in most performances was the drum set belonging to the late Herman alumnus, drummer Ed Shaughnessy.

Organized chronologically, the concerts, film presentations and panels each began with Woody's earliest music and worked their way through the five decades sequentially, as the Woody Herman musical story unfolded over the four-and-a-half days. Within the scope of the festival and rehearsal time, and in view of Herman's massive recorded output, the music presented was carefully chosen, representative and comprehensive, all the key Herman music being included. There was a good mix of big band and smaller group concerts. There were no major omissions -larger scale works such as Broadbent's "Blues In The Night" and the Children of Lima orchestral scores were clearly beyond the scope of this festival.

Ken Poston, assisted by Eric Fankhauser, Lori Poston, Kate Demerjian and the other volunteers who make this happen, are again to be congratulated for organizing yet another fine festival. The LAJI evidently runs on a small budget, and with gradual diminution in numbers of attendees compared to when these events began in the early 1990s, it is presumably an ever-growing challenge to maintain these festivals into the future. It is to be hoped that these excellent festivals can remain viable long into the future, and attract new generations who appreciate the richness of this large and exciting musical legacy. The next LAJI festival is "Something Cool—Celebrating the Great Vocalists of The West Coast Jazz Era," 25-28 October, 2018.

Carnegie Hall 1946 -Directed by Michael Berkowitz, with Special Guest Ken Peplowski

The re- creation of this historic concert of the Woody Herman First Herd, featured Ken Peplowski on clarinet in the Herman role. The performance opened with Ralph Burns' much loved "Bijou," showcasing some soulful Dan Barrett trombone echoing the great Bill Harris, and Barry Zweig's tasteful guitar evoking Billy Bauer. "Sweet And Lovely," province of the late Flip Phillips, featured Ken Peplowski's evocative tenor sax melody in marvelous Flip-like arpeggiation and speech rhythms, and after neat piano obbligatos from Alan Steinberger, a magnificent tenor cadenza. Next on the menu was "Blowin' Up A Storm," beginning with swinging Steinberger piano choruses, swooping Peplowski clarinet, vigorous tenor from Keith Bishop, brassy trombone and trumpet solos from Dan Barrett and Ron Stout and the ebullient ensemble ending of this Herman staple with Dick Weller's powerful drums. "The Good Earth" remains a winner, with its cheerful bebop melody and clarinet bridge, bold crescendo ensemble parts and happy sax section soli passages, final exhilarating ensemble interplay and whistle-like, three- note clarinet coda.

The "Ebony Concerto," written by composer Igor Stravinsky for the First Herd, was an ambitious piece in its day, and a challenge for the original Herd at the time. Its artistic worth has been debated ever since, but it was an early example of collaboration between the jazz and classical worlds, broadly part of what would later be considered third stream. It was certainly a departure from the Herd's usual fare, and makes up for its lack of swing with interesting textures, rhythms and quirky melodies that the audience don't necessarily whistle as they leave. It is a complex piece, a labour of love that demands a large slab of rehearsal time, which could be underestimated. This was such an occasion, and although mostly it was well executed, it came off the rails during the third movement. For those who love the piece, all its character was there, the playful clarinet lines, the staccato sectional interplay, the sharp dissonances, the sometimes lugubrious reed sounds, eerily muted trumpets, smeary trombone blasts and intermittent moments of swing and bluesy melodic touches.

The band was in full swing again for "Your Father's Moustache," with its cheerful brass section intro and sweeping clarinet from Peplowski. Solo features included a confident trumpet solo from Mark Lewis, muscular trombone from Paul Young, big toned tenor from Keith Bishop, and playful, bright piano work from Steinberger, the band vocal in conversation with Lewis' trumpet and a fine Peplowski clarinet cadenza. The much-loved, haunting Ralph Burns arrangement of "Everywhere" featured Dan Barrett's trombone playing Bill Harris' beautiful melody, and wonderful band dynamics, from the gentle beginning with the descending reeds to the later roaring crescendo. "Goosey Gander" was another tour-de-force for Harry Allen's tenor sax and Dan Barrett's bone, the terrific section work from screaming trumpets, vigorous trombones, nice unison reed section work and trumpet section glissandos.

Ralph Burns' fine "Summer Sequence" followed, in its original three movements (Burns later added his fourth movement for the Second Herd, to feature Stan Getz). The first movement which Burns originally described as "slow and peaceful" featured Barry Zweig's haunting guitar melody, Steinberger's piano solo conversations with the band, Barrett's soulful trombone, and Doug Weller's crisp brushwork. The second movement, dubbed "fast and furious" by Burns, opened with a fiery brass intro and agitated piano chords, leading into John Mitchell's big-toned baritone sax, some urgent ensemble work, chirpy clarinet, quirky piano and the customary, fiery ending. The final movement, "just happy," began with its dissonant piano, vigorous Dave Stone bass, Keith Bishop taking the tenor melody, and Rusty Higgins with the soaring alto melody, and swinging ensemble work.

"Wild Root" began with its happy, unison bebop reed section melody, with excellent solo work from Harry Allen's tenor, John Mitchell's baritone, Paul Young's trombone and a soaring clarinet solo from nearly-90-year-old Gene Cipriano with the fiery unison brass section unison parts, energetic Weller drum solo before the stratospheric trumpet section conclusion. The concert concluded with Flip Phillips' "With Someone New," with Harry Allen featured on tenor for Flip's sensuous ballad melody, accompanied by Zweig's guitar and light brass figures, and proceeding to an evocative, rhapsodic tenor solo and a fine, breathy cadenza.

Film Session 1. The Band That Plays the Blues -Rare Films from the Los Angeles Jazz Institute Archive

Ken Poston continued his tradition of well-crafted presentations of historic film footage to tell the Woody Herman story. He described Woody's beginnings with the Isham Jones band, its "sweet" and "jazz" factions, Jones' retirement in 1936 and Woody's reforming of 'The Band That Plays The Blues.' Footage of many tracks with early Woody Herman clarinet was shown, with its trademark grace notes and his smooth, crooning and bluesy vocals, the fine drumming of Frankie Carlson, and a mix of the sweet and the swinging, some tracks sounding quite modern with pre-bop unison reed section melodies. Poston spoke of the significance of the Herman band playing the Paramount and its hit with Woodchopper's Ball in 1939, its first motion picture appearances in What's Cookin' in 1942, co-featured with the Andrews Sisters, and the emergence of the band's theme "Blue Flame." Their appearance in the 1943 film Wintertime showed the band in fur coats, in the back of a sleigh, and one could hear the evolving Ellington influence in the arrangements, and of Woody's Johnny Hodges-inspired alto saxophone playing. Featured were lady trumpeter Billie Rogers, and other major band members Cappy Lewis, Vido Musso and Jimmy Rowles. Clever black-and-white cinematography of the Woody's singing "We're Going To Be Dancing In The Dark" and the band playing in the dark, with marvelous lighting effects, fine examples of Woody's fleet clarinet, Vido Musso's tenor and Dave Tough's drums.

Poston described the transition of the band into what would soon become known as the First Herd, the importance of Cab Calloway. By 1945, the transition to the First Herd was complete, with the key new personnel including trumpeters Pete Candoli and Neal Hefti; Hefti and Ralph Burns as the arrangers; trombonist Bill Harris; reedmen John LaPorta and Flip Phillips; vibraphonist Margie Hyams, and the rhythm section of Sonny Berman, Shorty Rogers and Conrad Gozzo; Jimmy Rowles returning to the piano chair, guitarist Chuck Wayne and drummer Don Lamond. Footage was shown of the Hit Parade Of 1947, with a blistering "Northwest Passage" featuring Red Norvo on vibes, and finally, from the film New Orleans, which featured Billie Holiday and Louis Armstrong, the Herman Herd playing "Do You Know What It Means To Miss New Orleans," with Norvo and Herman taking the solo honors.

Concert 1: Flip the Whip -Harry Allen Plays Flip Phillips

The first of the small group concerts, this was a happy celebration of Flip Phillips (1915-2001), very individual and brilliant tenor saxophonist and one of the unforgettable characters of the Woody Herman story of the mid 1940s. Led by tenor-man Harry Allen, it was a first-rate quartet with Josh Nelson on piano, Dave Stone on bass, and Paul Kreibich on drums. Allen is a consummate, master tenor player, and, although no imitator of Phillips, this was a very worthy tribute to the master.

Beginning with two pieces recorded by the Flip Phillips quintet on Rock With Flip in 1957, "Lady's in Love With You" was a medium-up swinger, featuring three mighty tenor choruses from Allen, bright and playful piano choruses with solid block-chording from Nelson, bouncy bass solo from Stone and trades with Kreibich's sizzling drums. "Lemon Aid 21" was an easy swinger over "rhythm changes," its riffy, cheeky melody full of wide intervallic leaps. Nelson's opening solo featured low register block chords with a nice, behind-the-beat swing. Allen followed, initially accompanied only by bass, with a raunchy big-toned solo and some mighty double-timing. Stone alternately walked and be-bopped through his solo chorus, before the leaping final melody returned.

A shift of mood, and Burke and Van Heusen's ballad "But Beautiful" was next, originally recorded by Flip in 1949, in a quartet. Allen gave the melody a breathy, expressive reading, with tender, sensitive accompaniment from the rhythm section. Nelson's piano solo, at once both thoughtful and playful, evolved into more teasing, tickling, treble finger-work and then faded gently to its ending. Allen played a passionate, probing tenor solo half-chorus, covering a huge dynamic range, leading into the final sixteen bars of the head, gently caressing the melody, and finishing with a superb, adventurous solo cadenza.

"The Claw," a Phillips original, was introduced as having been recorded on a 1981 album of 'scary tunes,' called Flipenstein. This was a boppy, up-tempo tune based on "rhythm changes." Nelson began his piano solo with a Monkish entrance, leading into a swinging solo running up and down the register, with more Monkish inflections. Allen followed with a virile tenor solo, then Stone with a virtual 'lesson' in walking bass lines and tricks, and finally, energetic drum trades with quirky Nelson piano and muscular Allen tenor. Hoagy Carmichael's evergreen "Stardust" was introduced by Allen as having been recorded by Phillips on Flip Wails (1956), which he described as "the perfect recording." Allen and Nelson began with a rubato duet on the verse, joined by bass and drums as the main melody unfolded with Allen's tenor—quiet, sensitive but passionate— with nice Kreibich brushwork, and masterful saxophone rhapsodizing on the melody with beautifully chosen notes. A magisterial tenor solo followed, the band went into double time for a while, and the rhythm section returned to original tempo while Allen continued his powerful, double-time solo statement. Nelson followed with a sparkling piano solo half chorus before the tenor-man returned to the melody and a nice upper register cadenza.

"A Sound Investment," which Flip had recorded with Scott Hamilton, was a fast tune, based on the form of Sweet Georgia Brown. Allen led into a fierce tenor solo, supported by a driving rhythm section, notably the hard-swinging drumming of Paul Kreibich. A vigorous Nelson piano solo followed, with teasing piano work up and down the keyboard. Drum trades with Kreibich, who, it was announced, was celebrating his birthday, and then a powerful, sizzling drum solo chorus, more fast-and-furious Harry Allen tenor solo choruses, and on to the final head. The generous ovation from the audience marked an inspired performance by a magnificent tenor saxophonist and his quartet.

Panel 1: Terry Gibbs with Kirk Silsbee

At 93, Terry Gibbs (b Oct 13, 1924) exudes a great deal of energy and vitality. His 2017 release, 92 Years Young: Jammin' at the Gibbs House has been hugely successful, showcasing the vibraphone-playing nonagenarian in sparkling form. For this festival, he was an important inclusion, as he is the only surviving member of Woody Herman's Second Herd of the late 1940s. Although the audience was not treated to his playing on this occasion, the indefatigable vibraphonist Terry Gibbs held the floor for a happy hour of 'fireside chat' with Kirk Silsbee.

Gibbs remarked that Woody's Second Herd was at the time considered the best big band in the world because of its superb ensemble playing and its brilliant soloists. For Woody, the most important priority was a tight ensemble sound, "the band sounding good as a whole," and this, he said, was the mark of his great leadership. Woody liked climactic endings and would re- arrange the order of choruses in the arrangements in order to "always end a piece 'big.'"

He mentioned that the famous "Early Autumn" was recorded in nine takes, and that he and Stan Getz had lobbied Woody to use Take #4 as they felt it contained their best solos. Woody resisted, choosing instead Take #8 for release, which they considered an inferior take. The rest is history, the recording gaining instant and lasting fame for Getz, and Gibbs and Getz were each Downbeat poll-winners that year!

He spoke fondly of two band-mates as being his lifelong best friends -pianist Lou Levy and trumpeter Conte Candoli—and that this friendship had begun whilst they were together in the Chubby Jackson band during 1947. Years later, when each died, Gibbs said it was like losing a brother. He spoke of Lou's singular abilities as a conductor/accompanist for singers, and felt that Conte was one of the ten greatest jazz trumpeters of all time, and his own personal favorite jazz soloist.

Gibbs spoke about his 'Terry Gibbs Dream Band' of the late fifties featuring Conte Candoli on first trumpet, Frank Rosolino on first trombone and Joe Maini leading the reed section. There was discussion about the challenge of distributing solo spots fairly in a band when it was full of so many outstanding soloists.

Silsbee and Gibbs spoke about the influence of the Chubby Jackson quintet on Woody's Second Herd, and the adoption of the George Wallington tune "Lemon Drop," via the Jackson band's vocal scat version, into the Herman repertoire, and that Gibbs's comical, low voice scatting was central to Woody's recording becoming a hit. Following this, Gibbs tried to negotiate with Woody for a raise, which, when rejected, led to Gibbs' resignation and signing with Charlie Ventura's band, and Woody's subsequent conceding, offering Gibbs the raise. Gibbs stayed with Herman.

Gibbs spoke fondly of fellow vibraphonist Red Norvo, who had preceded him in Woody's band, and about their different styles, Red's style more rooted in the Swing era. Years later, Gibbs recalled playing at a vibraphone summit concert featuring himself, Lionel Hampton, Gary Burton and others. Red was in attendance, with one side of his body paralyzed after his stroke, but when invited out of the audience to play, he came onstage and played with one hand, generating a thirty minute ovation!

Gibbs spoke fondly of the brilliant lady pianist/vibraphonist Terry Pollard (1931-2009), originally from Detroit, whom he had heard playing there with trumpeter Thad Jones, and who joined Gibbs in his fifties' quintet, playing for four years. He stated that featuring a lady Afro-American musician in his band was seen as being quite bold in the social climate of the time. He spoke of being very active composing music for the group, that he would write twelve tunes, the band would play them, record them, and this process would repeat over and over again. Gibbs has composed and recorded hundreds of his tunes.

Gibbs also spoke fondly of drummer/arranger Tiny Kahn (1924-1953), of his role in the Chubby Jackson band, of his influence on drummers Mel Lewis and Chico Hamilton, and on arrangers Al Cohn and Johnny Mandel.

Kirk Silsbee noted that Gibbs had worked with many clarinetist/leaders throughout his career including Benny Goodman (and later in his career, with Buddy DeFranco and Ken Peplowski). Gibbs maintained that Woody was the best bandleader of all, and this theme was repeated throughout this most entertaining and enlightening session.

Concert 2: Characteristically B.H. -Dan Barrett Plays Bill Harris

Trombone legend Bill Harris, one of the most individual trombonists in all of jazz, was a major voice and much-loved character in the First and Second Herman Herds of the 1940s. In happy tribute to Harris' music and his contribution to the Herman story, Trombonist Dan Barrett, whose influences are wider and probably reach back earlier than Harris, led a capable young quintet with Jason Fabus on tenor sax, Chris Dawson on piano, Nick Schaadt on bass and Tyler Kreutel on drums, in a thoughtfully chosen mix of tunes associated with Harris.

Opening with "Pennies From Heaven," the bone-and-sax frontline led off with the melody in cheerful interplay and deft key changes between choruses. Fabus led of with a big-toned, swinging tenor solo, followed by Barrett's fluid, full-bodied bebop trombone. Dawson played some sinuous right-handed piano lines, before frontline trades with drummer Kreutel. Featured next was "Dark Shadows," a slow swinger, which Harris had recorded with Flip Phillips. Fabus played a soulful, straight-ahead tenor solo, and Barrett continued with a warm, swinging solo with playful slipping and sliding. Dawson's impish, economic piano half-chorus led into the final return of the melody to the two horns. Ellington's "In A Mellow Tone," which Harris had recorded with Ellington tenor giant Ben Webster, featured bassist Nick Schaadt taking the melody, in conversation with a tenor sax-trombone two- part counter-melody. A bright and bouncy bass solo from Schaadt preceded a witty Dawson piano solo with spare, bebop lines culminating in chunky block chording. Barrett played a happy, bubbly trombone solo, Fabus then played a superb, swinging tenor solo with nice phrasing and double-time fluidity, before Schaadt recaptured the melody and the band played it out as they had begun. Jason Fabus is a very promising young tenor player.

"With Someone New," by Flip Phillips, was a tour-de-force for young tenor-man Jason Fabus, who took the melody and then proceeded to a superb solo—with his big sound, feel and dynamics, breathy tones when at low volume and a full-bodied sound at upper volumes. Dan Barrett played a soulful, plangent solo chorus, with his solotone-muted trombone, before Fabus took the melody for the final time, and engaged in a conversational duet cadenza with Barrett.

"Crazy Rhythm" featured happy trombone choruses from Barrett, interspersed with witty Bill Harris-like quotes, driving tenor sax and cheeky piano solos from Fabus and Dawson, drum trades with Kreutel, a very rhythmically supple drum solo, and an aptly crazy, punchy ending. Stan Getz' tune "And The Angels Swing" was a minor-key, mid-tempo swinging bebop tune. Dawson shone with his quirkily-accented, serpentine bebop lines, as did Fabus, with his assertive, masterful post-bop solo. Leader Barrett's contrasting bone solo led to exciting drum trades and nice bone-sax harmonies on the final melody.

Into ballad mode with "Everything Happens To Me," Dan Barrett's trombone melody was supported by the unexpected pleasure of Jason Fabus harmonizing the melody with piano accordion and taking the bridge. A nice bebop accordion solo followed, full of great ideas but not yet the polish of his terrific tenor work. A neat Dawson piano solo preceded the bone and accordion walking off stage, down the aisle into the audience for the final chorus. The concert finished with a happy "John Hardy's Wife," by Mercer Ellington, originally recorded by Bill Harris with Ben Webster. This light-hearted melody was taken at a medium swing tempo, and launched into a swaggering Barrett trombone solo with some nice smears, then sparkling bebop piano from Dawson and nicely animated drums throughout. All in all, this concert was an engaging performance, and an apt tribute to the lively musical character of Bill Harris.

Concert 3: The Four Brothers Sound

Ken Poston introduced the concert with a brief description of the history of the Four Brothers' sound—its origin in the octet, led by trumpeter Tommy Di Carlo that played Pontrelli's in Los Angeles in early 1947, with a four-tenor-sax lineup of Herbie Steward, Zoot Sims, Jimmy Giuffre and Stan Getz, playing arrangements by Gene Roland and Giuffre. Woody Herman heard this group, immediately liked the Lester Young-like harmonized sax section sound and, later the same year, when he organized a new band, he hired Sims, Steward, Getz and Adam Schroeder played impressive solos over neat three-sax backgrounds, with Cohn's own unison shout chorus leading into the familiar, harmonized chordal bridge. Over the years, each incarnation the Herman Herd sax frontline managed to preserve the unity of the Four Brother's ensemble sound, but the soloists would come to depart widely from the Lester- influenced styles of the first generation, under the many influences of evolving jazz saxophone titans, the latter generations being quite Coltrane-inspired. Some of this diversity was evident in this concert, and in later concerts to a greater degree. Their next tune, Allen's original "The One For You," was a minor-key, mid-tempo swinger. After their brother-ish melody sections, the four saxophones played very contrasting solos, Ken Peplowski playing fleetly in the upper register with a soft tone, Allen with a big bluesy sound, baritonist Schroeder with a more Pepper Adams-like, hard bop sound and phrasing, and muscular double-timing, and Neumann pulled back with a lazy, laid-back, bluesy solo. Pianist Josh Nelson played a relaxed, unhurried solo moving into probing block chords, before the frontline returned to the raunchy, unison melody and finished in harmony.

A softer, Four Brothers sound was featured on the ballad standard, "It Never Entered My Mind." Peplowski led the melody, evoking a Getzian sound, over a lush sax section cushion of more contemporary harmonies, with Schroeder's baritone taking over the melody. Nelson played some beautiful piano solo lines backed by the reeds, with a dynamic return to the melody and a final chord in modal fourth harmonies. "Begin The Beguine and Don't Stop" was a medium-up swinger with a mix of unison and quite advanced brotherly four-part harmony, and stellar solos from Peplowski in brilliant double time, Allen's big tenor, Schroeder's energetic baritone and lastly, Neumann's vigorous tenor. This was inspired ensemble arranging, and an interesting reimagining and advancement of the Four Brothers sound.

Gerry Mulligan's "Five Brothers," originally recorded by five tenors (Getz, Sims, Cohn, Allen Eager and Brew Moore) was played here, perhaps anomalously with four saxophones, featured double chorus solos from each—an energetic Schroeder baritone, gleeful and exuberant Allen tenor; a smooth, Getzian, Peplowski solo complete with quotes from "Giant Steps," and a contrasting raunchy, mischievous and big-toned solo from Neumann. Trades of eights and fours followed in the same order, before bassist Dave Stone played two fleet-fingered bass solo choruses and the reeds returned with a mighty shout chorus.

From Finian's Rainbow, an unlikely choice of "How Are Things In Glocca Morra," by Lane and Harburg, began with a mournful introduction and verse, leading into the main melody, with neatly descending and quite beautiful harmonies and a softer brotherly ensemble sound. The final offering was Frank Loesser's "Luck Be A Lady Tonight," beginning with a super, strong introduction/verse, and then a boppy, up-tempo, unison rendition of the main melody. Josh Nelson played an agile, colourful piano solo, focusing on the lower register. The reeds followed with double chorus solos: Peplowski led off with a fluid tenor solo that began phlegmatically and became more boisterous; Schroeder with a muscular, Pepper-ish baritone solo, Neumann with a mercurial solo that became increasingly bold and bluesy. Allen unleashed a sanguine, powerful solo that led to a mighty, powerhouse drum solo from Doug Weller and a strong shout chorus. All in all, the concert showcased the durability of the Four Brothers sound, both in its classic Lestorian sound but also many new and distinct textures and sounds that this fine instrumental combination could inspire.


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