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BOOK REVIEWS

50 Years at the Village Vanguard: Thad Jones, Mel Lewis and the Vanguard Jazz Orchestra

Read "50 Years at the Village Vanguard: Thad Jones, Mel Lewis and the Vanguard Jazz Orchestra" reviewed by C. Andrew Hovan

50 Years at the Village Vanguard: Thad Jones, Mel Lewis and the Vanguard Jazz Orchestra Dave Lisik and Eric Allen 316 Pages ISBN: #9780692808580 SkyDeck 2017 During the heydays of the big bands, people swooned and jitterbugged to the swinging sounds of these large ensembles. Names like Count Basie, Woody Herman, Les Brown, Cab Calloway, Glenn Miller, and Artie Shaw were household names to most folks. Large ballrooms featured the big bands and ...

ALBUM REVIEWS

Vanguard Jazz Orchestra: OverTime: Music of Bob Brookmeyer

Read "OverTime: Music of Bob Brookmeyer" reviewed by John Ephland

There's a richness, a depth, a density to his varied charts. And the soloists and ensemble passages inside those charts! Such has always been the case with the Vanguard Jazz Orchestra, then, and now. For real, gliding from the spirit of Thad Jones and Mel Lewis, this edition of the VJO now embraces another one of its own: trombonist/composer/arranger/pianist Bob Brookmeyer, with Over Time: Music Of Bob Brookmeyer. And what different sound comes from this grand aggregate of ...

ALBUM REVIEWS

Vanguard Jazz Orchestra: OverTime: Music of Bob Brookmeyer

Read "OverTime: Music of Bob Brookmeyer" reviewed by Jack Bowers

While it may be hard to believe, the reality is that the Vanguard Jazz Orchestra is nearing the end of its first half-century together. Formed in 1966 as the Thad Jones -Mel Lewis Orchestra, it continued on after Jones' departure as the Mel Lewis Orchestra, then as the Vanguard Jazz Orchestra after Lewis' death in February 1990. During many of those years, the ensemble was enriched by the compositions and arrangements of the renowned Bob Brookmeyer (1929-2011), a master craftsman ...

ALBUM REVIEWS

The Vanguard Jazz Orchestra: Forever Lasting - Live in Tokyo

Read "Forever Lasting - Live in Tokyo" reviewed by Edward Blanco

The Thad Jones / Mel Lewis Orchestra, the New York big band founded in 1966, loved to tour Japan resulting in its popular 1974 release of Live In Tokyo (Denon). Continuing the tradition of playing Monday nights at New York's Village Vanguard, as well as performing in Japan, The Vanguard Jazz Orchestra--as the Thad Jones / Mel Lewis Orchestra has been known for decades--presents Forever Lasting--Live In Tokyo a double-CD set capturing a recent live recording in Tokyo. Led by ...

PROFILES

Vanguard Jazz Orchestra: A Band in the Vanguard

Read "Vanguard Jazz Orchestra: A Band in the Vanguard" reviewed by George Kanzler

Not only is this the 75th anniversary of the Village Vanguard, this month also marks the 44th anniversary of the Monday night residency of the Vanguard Jazz Orchestra (VJO), begun in 1966 as the Thad Jones-Mel Lewis Jazz Orchestra. Those Monday nights are a very significant part of the Vanguard's legacy as THE premier jazz club in history. Before cornetist, flugelhornist, composer and arranger Jones and drummer Lewis brought their big band into the Vanguard, ...

ALBUM REVIEWS

Vanguard Jazz Orchestra: Monday Night Live at the Village Vanguard

Read "Monday Night Live at the Village Vanguard" reviewed by J Hunter

"The Vanguard Jazz Orchestra holds sway Monday nights"--so says the Village Vanguard's minuscule listing in the “Goings On About Town" section of The New Yorker magazine. Other acts come and go, but the VJO--the hellacious big band once co-captained by Thad Jones and Mel Lewis--just keeps on keeping on. Monday Night Live at the Village Vanguard amply demonstrates why “holds sway" is an excellent description of the orchestra's remarkable ability to mesmerize an audience.

Plenty of big bands ...

ALBUM REVIEWS

Vanguard Jazz Orchestra: Up from the Skies

Read "Up from the Skies" reviewed by Jack Bowers

On its fifth album since the passing of co-founder Mel Lewis in 1990, the Vanguard Jazz Orchestra turns for a second time to the music of Jim McNeely, the ensemble's pianist/composer in residence and one of the country's outstanding contemporary composer/arrangers. Even though his music has lost none of its resourcefulness or depth, this is a kinder, gentler, more lyrical and even-tempered McNeely than we've heard before, and the enterprise is all the better for it.

The title selection, which ...

ALBUM REVIEWS

The Way: Music of Slide Hampton: Vanguard Jazz Orchestra

Read "Vanguard Jazz Orchestra" reviewed by Russ Musto

The union of the Vanguard Jazz Orchestra (VJO) and Slide Hampton is a match made in jazz heaven. The VJO, a sixteen-piece musical organization--the term big band has never been an official assignation for the group--that has been performing on Monday nights at the Village Vanguard for nearly 40 years, remains one of the most vibrant and distinctive larger groups. Founded under the co-leadership of trumpeter Thad Jones and drummer Mel Lewis, the band blended the influences of the former's ...

EXTENDED ANALYSIS

Vanguard Jazz Orchestra: The Music of Slide Hampton

Read "Vanguard Jazz Orchestra: The Music of Slide Hampton" reviewed by Matt Merewitz

Vanguard Jazz Orchestra The Way: The Music of Slide Hampton Planet Arts Recordings 2004

As Mitchell Seidel points out in his liner notes to The Way, New York has grown accustomed to the Vanguard Jazz Orchestra’s presence at the Village Vanguard every Monday night for the past 38 years. But this continuity has neither made the band nor it’s repertoire the least bit stale or hackneyed. It has relied on a formula ...

ALBUM REVIEWS

The Vanguard Jazz Orchestra: Can I Persuade You?

Read "Can I Persuade You?" reviewed by Jack Bowers

The title song on the Vanguard Jazz Orchestra's latest album was written by the late Julie Cavadini whose untimely passing at age thirty--one in 1988 deprived the Jazz world of one of its more promising big--band composers. Cavadini, to whose memory the album is dedicated, also wrote the lovely and harmonically radiant “Simple Wish," another of her several compositions that have become an indispensable part of the VJO's book. Vanguard, which began life in 1966 as the Thad ...

ALBUM REVIEWS

Vanguard Jazz Orchestra: Can I Persuade You?

Read "Can I Persuade You?" reviewed by Dave Nathan

From its inception in 1966, the Vanguard Jazz Orchestra has been a New York institution attracting the best musicians from that City. Typically, when the driving forces for an organization depart, in this case founders Thad Jones and Mel Lewis, their organization eventually falls apart or becomes a tribute band. Not so here, as the music continues on in high form with fresh charts and fueled by some of the Big Apple's premiere jazz artists. That is the ...