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ARTICLE: RADIO

Birth of the Big Bands

Read "Birth of the Big Bands" reviewed by Russell Perry

In the last hour, we listened to the pioneering jazz orchestra of Duke Ellington. Large jazz ensembles, such as Ellington's, soon to be known as “Big Bands," evolved through the 1920s with significant innovations led by bandleaders Fletcher Henderson, Benny Carter, Jimmie Lunceford and Don Redman, and arrangers Carter, Redman, Edgar Sampson and Sy Oliver. By ...

ARTICLE: RADIO

Up In Harlem - The Bands

Read "Up In Harlem - The Bands" reviewed by Russell Perry

In the last hour, we explored the jazz of King Oliver's Chicago in the 1920s, and heard from The New Orleans Rhythm Kings, clarinetists Jimmy Noone and Johnny Dodds, pianists Earl Hines and Lovie Austin, cornetist Freddie Keppard and trumpeter Jabbo Smith.

Now we move to the other emerging center of the music, New ...

ARTICLE: ALBUM REVIEWS

Jim McNeely: Barefoot Dances and Other Visions

Read "Barefoot Dances and Other Visions" reviewed by Jerome Wilson

When today's top composer-arrangers of large ensemble jazz are discussed, Jim McNeely's name sometimes gets overlooked. He deserves the recognition. He's been a long- time associate of the Thad Jones-Mel Lewis Jazz Orchestra and its descendant, the Vanguard Jazz Orchestra, and he's also done a lot of work with several European big bands. It could be ...

ARTICLE: ALBUM REVIEWS

Jim McNeely / Frankfurt Radio Big Band: Barefoot Dances and Other Visions

Read "Barefoot Dances and Other Visions" reviewed by Jack Bowers

Barefoot Dances and Other Visions is a contemporary seven-part suite written by composer/arranger Jim McNeely in 2014 for the Frankfurt Radio Big Band, with whom he has worked since 2008. “I tailored my musical visions," he writes, “to fit each player in the ensemble, and placed each soloist in a framework both familiar and challenging." Challenging ...

ARTICLE: ALBUM REVIEWS

Brian Carpenter’s Ghost Train Orchestra: Book Of Rhapsodies Vol. II

Read "Book Of Rhapsodies Vol. II" reviewed by Jerome Wilson

There have been several ensembles in the past couple of decades that delved into the novelty jazz recordings of the Thirties and Forties. In the Netherlands there have been The Beau Hunks and the Willem Breuker Kollektief and in this country there have been Don Byron's Bug Music group and Brian Carpenter's Ghost Train Orchestra.

ARTICLE: ALBUM REVIEWS

Keith Karns Big Band: An Eye on the Future

Read "An Eye on the Future" reviewed by Jack Bowers

It's hard to know in advance exactly what to expect from a big-band album whose title is An Eye on the Future. Luckily, the horizon as leader Keith Karns sees it is rhythmically persuasive, harmonically alluring, acknowledges an indispensable bond to the past and swings like crazy. On this album, it's a tomorrow that also sets ...

NEWS: RECORDING

Don Redman All-Stars: 1957

Don Redman All-Stars: 1957

Don Redman today is a forgotten giant of the swing era. A saxophonist and percussionist who played with Fletcher Henderson's band and McKinney's Cotton Pickers in the 1920s, Redman's true genius rested in his sophisticated big-band arrangements, starting in the late 1920s. By the early 1930s, he was writing complex dance charts years before the music ...

NEWS: EDUCATION

Doubling; A History (Of Sorts)

Doubling; A History (Of Sorts)

A recent discussion among jazz researchers centered on the evolution of instrumentation as big bands changed through the decades. The conversation developed into exchanges about not only the makeup of band sections—rhythm, brass and reeds—but also the matter of doubling, in which individual musicians played more than one instrument and sometimes several. In the 1920s and ...

NEWS: RADIO

Fats, Hoagy & W.C. Handy: Music Made In America This Week On Riverwalk Jazz

This week Riverwalk Jazz explores the rich legacy of three jazz heroes whose work has inspired The Jim Cullum Jazz Band through the years—Fats Waller, Hoagy Carmichael and the work of W.C. Handy known as the “Father of the Blues." Series favorites Vernel Bagneris, Topsy Chapman and Shelly Berg join the band on the stage of ...

NEWS: RADIO

Fletcher Henderson And Don Redman: The Birth Of The Big Band Reed Section

Fletcher Henderson And Don Redman: The Birth Of The Big Band Reed Section

This week, Riverwalk Jazz presents “Fletcher Henderson and Don Redman: The Birth of the Big Band Reed Section" with arrangements adapted by the Jim Cullum Jazz Band’s clarinetist Ron Hockett from the classic Henderson scores from the 1920s. To bring to life this distinctive sound, clarinetists Allan Vaché and Kim Cusack join Jim Cullum and the ...