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

Simon Pilbrow By

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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

Panel 3: Cousins -Moderated by Ken Borgers

Moderated by Ken Borgers, this panel featured Woody Herman alumni from the last phase of Woody's band and life, the 1980s. These were trumpeters Ron Stout and Mark Lewis, saxophonists Mike Brignola, Jerry Pinter and Frank Tiberi, trombonist John Fedchock and drummer Jeff Hamilton. Each described how they came to join Woody's band, how formative it had been to their musical development, the standards that he expected of his players and of the band as a whole. Each was asked to give an account of his first night playing with his band, which led to some interesting reminiscences, in some instances about 'being thrown in the deep end' during high-profile band engagements. Some spoke about the big shoes of predecessors that they realized they were stepping into -for example, Jeff Hamilton spoke in glowing terms of brilliant drummer Ed Soph, who he stated "was responsible for the revolution in big band drumming" during the 1970s. Borgers enquired of the panel as to what were Woody's "magic leadership qualities." All expressed similar sentiments, and were all in agreement about Woody having nurtured so many young jazz musicians over many decades, but Hamilton offered perhaps the most articulate summary of Woody Herman's leadership style: "Woody led without leading."

Concert 12: Road Father -Music of the Seventies -CSULB Concert Jazz Orchestra with Special Guests: Alan Broadbent and Gary Anderson

This concert featured a first class university jazz band, Cal State University Long Beach (CSULB) Concert Jazz Orchestra, with special guests Alan Broadbent and Gary Anderson, directed by Jeff Jarvis. In between each tune, Jarvis gave a pre-prepared chronological narration of Woody's musical story, probably familiar to the audience by the final day of the festival, but of interest to his young student musicians.

Gary Anderson's arrangement of Copland's "Fanfare For The Common Man" opened the concert, with a spirited and inventive guitar solo, before guest Gary Anderson played a robust, muscular tenor saxophone solo, ultimately becoming inaudible beneath the crescendoing ensemble.

"Adam's Apple," by Wayne Shorter, a medium-paced blues, opened with four swinging, bluesy piano choruses from guest Alan Broadbent, before the trumpet section stated the melody, launching a fine, upbeat alto sax solo by Tanner Olivas. An attractive saxophone soli passage with flugelhorn on top was followed by Phineas Crisp's lively plunger trombone solo, ending with blaring brass ensemble choruses.

Chick Corea's "Spain," arranged by Gary Anderson, with the "Crystal Silence" melody incorporated into the introduction, featured tenor saxophone melody and flutes over mellow brass backgrounds. After an attractive reed interlude with soprano sax leading, the pianist, Alex Flavell, played an exciting solo, with rhythmically daring, upper-register right hand work, followed by a warm flugelhorn solo by Cade Gotthardt. The ensemble playing was very well executed. Two compositions of Keith Jarrett followed in succession. "Fortune Smiles," arranged by Gary Anderson, had a nice, straight-eights feel, Anderson's solo tenor sax taking the melody and a soulful, energetic solo, above tight rhythm-section work, complex electric bass-lines, and dextrous drumming. "The Raven Speaks," a brassy arrangement over a propulsive rock beat, featured an aggressive, hard-hitting solo from Stephen Wood, a forceful, brash solo from Ken Eernisse, incisive rhythm section comping, and a driving soprano sax solo from Erik Larsen.

"Duke Ellington's Sound Of Love," the wonderful ballad by Charles Mingus, featured sweet-sounding, Johnny Hodges-like alto sax work from Erik Larsen, some mellow brass section work over exquisite brushwork from drummer TYLER KREUTEL , and a passionate solo from tenor saxophonist Stephen Wood. Broadbent was featured in his own composition/arrangement, "Bebop and Roses," taken at a medium-up swing tempo, in three piano solo choruses, the first two showing his Lennie Tristano influences, the final with Evans-ish, closed-octave block chords. Soloists included Ryan DeWeese's fiery bebop lines and Phineas Crisp's fresh, agile bone lines, and after some bold ensemble interplay and a final brass fanfare, it was all over. All in all, this was a pleasing performance by a spirited and accomplished college band, and a nice showcase for the arranging and solo skills of two key 1970s Herdsman, Anderson and Broadbent. Concert 13: Jeff Hamilton Trio

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