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Gary Urwin: Inside the Mind of an Arranger

Read "Gary Urwin: Inside the Mind of an Arranger" reviewed by Rob Wood

The arranger of music scores is as important as a crankshaft in an engine. Yet many are destined to live in the shadows. Ralph Carmichael was subsumed by the luster of Stan Kenton. Arranger Paul Riser, who wrote the opening bars to “Dancing in the Street," is a virtual unknown. And then there is ...


Stan Kenton Orchestra: Kenton Roars! At the Golden Lion

Read "Kenton Roars! At the Golden Lion" reviewed by Jack Bowers

1969 was a year of transition for Stan Kenton and his orchestra, one in which Kenton's long-term contract with Capitol Records was ended, which led in turn to the establishment of his own label, Creative World. The orchestra itself remained active, motoring back and forth to one-night stands and brief engagements in various locales. What it ...


Metropolitan Gospel Big Band at Restoration Temple

Read "Metropolitan Gospel Big Band at Restoration Temple" reviewed by Ernest Barteldes

Metropolitan Gospel Big Band Temple of Restoration October 18, 2014 Brooklyn, NY On the CD release event for their debut album Leaning On The Everlasting Arms (Self-Produced, 2014), the sixteen-piece band led by tenor saxophonist Duke Guillaume kicked off the set with George Bennard's classic hymn “The Old ...


Interview: Ralph Carmichael (Part 3)

Interview: Ralph Carmichael (Part 3)

In the last years of Nat King Cole's life, he sounded comfortable in the arms of Ralph Carmichael's charts. Admittedly lighter and more commercial than Cole's earlier Capitol dates, these albums need to be put in context. Easy listening LPs like Touch of Your Lips; Lazy Hazy, Crazy Days of Summer and L-O-V-E were indeed lighter ...


Interview: Ralph Carmichael (Part 2)

Interview: Ralph Carmichael (Part 2)

Ralph Carmichael likes to arrange strings in clusters. This technique allows him to take the largest possible group of violins, violas and cellos and, by bunching them into groups and voicing them as mini ensembles, he ensures richness and clarity without clutter and sweetness. For Ralph, the goal always is to create a luminous frame for ...


Interview: Ralph Carmichael (Part 1)

Interview: Ralph Carmichael (Part 1)

Ralph Carmichael has arranged for Ella Fitzgerald, Bing  Crosby, Stan Kenton, Jack Jones, Peggy Lee, Julie London, Al Martino, Roger Williams and Sue Raney. But he is perhaps best known for his collaborations with Nat King Cole between 1960 and the singer's death in 1965. In fact, each holiday season you hear Carmichael's stereo arrangement of ...


Deck the Halls with Big Band Carols

Read "Deck the Halls with Big Band Carols" reviewed by Jack Bowers

With the holiday season on track and hastening toward us like a runaway locomotive, it's time once again to hunker down and prepare for the annual onslaught of “Rudolph," “Frosty the Snowman," “I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus," “Sleigh Ride," “Silver Bells," chestnuts roasting on an open fire and everyone's perennial favorite, “White Christmas." Not to ...


Ralph Carmichael's Big Band: Big Band Christmas

Read "Big Band Christmas" reviewed by C. Michael Bailey

Tremendous Sound. Make no mistake, this is a BIG band disc. Carmichael's band bursts out all over the place with holiday cheer. His arrangements and bubbly and bright, providing a contemporary big band seasonal offering. The arrangements were originally used with another great big band, that of Stan Kenton's in 1961. This current disc was recorded ...


Ralph Carmichael: Big Band Classics, Vol. 1

Read "Big Band Classics, Vol. 1" reviewed by Jack Bowers

One problem I have with many of these big–band anthologies is that they’re composed of a few “classics” and a lot of other songs the band likes to play. This is true to a degree in Ralph Carmichael’s salute, but at least the bona fide classics chosen by Carmichael outnumber the rest (by as many as ...


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