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Daily articles carefully curated by the All About Jazz staff. Read our popular and future articles.

CATCHING UP WITH

Mike Vax: Getting Vaxinated

Read "Mike Vax: Getting Vaxinated" reviewed by Nicholas F. Mondello

Mike Vax has one of the shortest surnames in jazz music—he's “tied" with Tommy Vig and Jack Six for that honor. However, those familiar with his activities as a well-respected lead trumpeter and soloist with Stan Kenton, a stalwart member of the famous Dukes of Dixieland, the leader and man behind the annual tour of the Stan Kenton Legacy Orchestra, and as an ardent proponent of jazz education know that what the name Vax lacks in length, Vax delivers in ...

ALBUM REVIEW

Stan Kenton Legacy Orchestra: Flyin' Through Florida

Read "Flyin' Through Florida" reviewed by Jack Bowers

The number of jazz-centered big bands “on the road" these days can be counted on the fingers of one hand with a digit or two to spare. The Glenn Miller and Count Basie orchestras remain randomly active, the Duke Ellington and Woody Herman progeny somewhat less so. As for the rest . . . R.I.P. Stan Kenton, another pillar of the Big Band Era, made it clear he wanted no “ghost band" touring and playing his music long after he ...

ALBUM REVIEW

The Stan Kenton Legacy Orchestra: Storming Through the South

Read "Storming Through the South" reviewed by Jack Bowers

First, three hearty cheers and a laurel wreath for trumpeter Mike Vax who has kept the splendid Stan Kenton Legacy Orchestra together (with some inescapable changes in personnel, not to mention name) for twenty-five years, supervised no less than eighteen annual road tours and produced half a dozen in-concert albums, the most recent of which, Storming Through the South, was recorded during the orchestra's spring excursion in 2015 --sixteen cities in seventeen days covering Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Arkansas and Oklahoma. ...

EXTENDED ANALYSIS

Stan Kenton Alumni Band: Road Scholars

Read "Stan Kenton Alumni Band: Road Scholars" reviewed by Jack Bowers

Road Scholars? A clever title indeed, but these gentlemen (and three ladies) are more akin to “road maestros," an appraisal that is abundantly clear from A to Z on this latest recording by trumpeter Mike Vax's turbo-charged Stan Kenton Alumni Band, taped at various concerts during the band's 2013 spring tour, a two-week, three-thousand-mile odyssey that encompassed a dozen concerts in six states and the District of Columbia. About four thousand people were lucky enough to see and hear the ...

EXTENDED ANALYSIS

Stan Kenton Alumni Band: Have Band Will Travel

Read "Stan Kenton Alumni Band: Have Band Will Travel" reviewed by Nicholas F. Mondello

Stan Kenton Alumni Band Have Band Will Travel Summit Records 2010

In the golden era of television, the late 1950s and early 1960s, there was a popular Western series titled Have Gun Will Travel. It starred Richard Boone as the San Francisco-based Paladin, a dressed all in black (but good guy), cowboy private eye. This gunslinger scoured the West righting wrongs and besting opponents with his intelligence and lightning fast pistol draw. ...

EXTENDED ANALYSIS

Stan Kenton Alumni Band: Have Band, Will Travel (Live)

Read "Stan Kenton Alumni Band: Have Band, Will Travel (Live)" reviewed by Robert J. Robbins

Stan Kenton Alumni Band Have Band, Will Travel (Live) Summit Records 2010

For over two decades, trumpeter Mike Vax, a veteran of the 1970-72 Stan Kenton Orchestra, has been a tireless crusader maintaining the legacy of his erstwhile boss, who died at age 67 in 1979. Have Band, Will Travel (Live) is the Stan Kenton Alumni Band's fourth recording for the Summit label. It maintains the ensemble's commitment to Kenton not only through music ...

ALBUM REVIEW

Mike Vax Big Band: Sounds From The Road

Read "Sounds From The Road" reviewed by Marcia Hillman

Featuring no less than a dozen alumni from the Stan Kenton Orchestra, Mike Vax's Big Band displays the drive and spirit of the musical organization that crisscrossed the country from the 1940s. All of the essentials of the Kenton sound are here. A tight and smooth sax section is heard on the opening “Alex's Tune." “La Virgen de la Macarena," the song played at bullfights, has a searing trumpet performance by the leader. There is an easygoing ...


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