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Jazz Articles

ANATOMY OF A STANDARD

Prelude to a Kiss by Duke Ellington

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Last month's initial installment of this column opened with an introduction to the concept of analyzing jazz standards for the purpose of adding to our understanding about the structure and elements of great songs having enduring qualities. I did not feel it required mentioning that a song's final structure and the process of songwriting were completely different viewpoints. One purview implies looking back at a final product of art and the other requires looking ahead at a blank page of ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Kurt Jarnberg Quintet: Down Memory Lane 2 / Down Memory Lane Vol. 3, The Power Package

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In the late 1960s, trombonist and sometime trumpeter Kurt Jarnberg led a popular jazz quintet in his native Sweden, one that lasted for only a couple of years before disbanding. Jarnberg came back with another small group in the mid-'70s, adding vocalist Ruth Asenlund (Jarnberg) to the mix, disbanded again, then returned to action with yet another group from 1986-89. The first of these bands is represented on the 2-CD set Down Memory Lane 2, the others on Volume 3, ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

The Rodger Fox Big Band: Plays New Zealand

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Although trombonist Rodger Fox has somehow managed to keep New Zealand's finest big band alive and swinging for more than four decades, the band has never devoted an entire album to music written and arranged by New Zealanders--until now. That's not to say that Fox and the band have ignored music from their home country. Over the years, more than ninety compositions by New Zealand-based musicians have been commissioned for the ensemble, sixty-eight of which have made it onto various ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Ryan Quigley: What Doesn’t Kill You

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Born in 1977, Ryan Quigley began playing trumpet at age 11 and later became an in-demand musician touring with the likes of Curtis Stigers and Tim Garland, and working as a member of award-winning Glaswegian band Brass Jaw. He's now the jazz trumpet tutor and one of the directors of the Big Band at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama. What Doesn't Kill You is the follow-up to his 2008 album Laphroaig-ian Slip. Bookended by two ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

The Stan Kenton Legacy Orchestra: Storming Through the South

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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. ...

LIVE REVIEWS

Jazz Orchestra of Philadelphia with Pat Martino Trio at the Kimmel Center

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Jazz Orchestra of Philadelphia with Pat Martino Trio Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts A String of Pearls Philadelphia, PA June 18, 2016 The Jazz Orchestra of Philadelphia (JOP) was founded a little over two years ago, under the direction of trumpeter Terell Stafford. Featuring some of the finest Philly musicians, compositions, and trends, it has quickly emerged as a top of the line big band for the city and the region. Their ...

BOOK REVIEWS

Why Jazz? A Concise Guide

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Why Jazz? A Concise Guide Kevin Whitehead 184 pages ISBN-10: 0199731187 Oxford, University Press 2011 Small books on big themes are a tough gig. Jazz is a uniquely American, musically challenging, and highly improvisational musical form. Jazz is also a rather vexing topic to explain to the uninitiated (or even to the initiated, who quarrel much over it). Several years ago, I played some late-period work of John Coltrane (the first four ...

BIG BAND REPORT

Time Check: A Paucity of Riches?

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On May 18, Betty and I flew to Los Angeles to attend Time Check: A Buddy Rich Alumni Reunion, a four-day panorama sponsored by the L.A. Jazz Institute and held at the Sheraton Gateway Hotel, about a stone's throw or two from the LAX airport. We arrived early afternoon so we could also be present for the “bonus" concert that evening, billed as an all-star tribute to vibraphone great Terry Gibbs with Chuck Redd sitting in on vibes for the ...


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