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John Graas

John Graas was an American jazz French horn player, composer and arranger from the 1940s through 1962. He had a short but busy career on the West Coast, and became known as a pioneer of the French horn in jazz.

NEWS: VIDEO / DVD

John Graas: French Horn Jazz

John Graas: French Horn Jazz

According to Tom Lord's Jazz Discography, the French horn in jazz dates back to 1921. By the 1930s, the instrument was popping up on recordings by Bing Crosby and Woody Herman. In the 1940s, Artie Shaw, Claude Thornhill, Harry James and other bandleaders included the horn when they added strings. Neal Hefti used Vincent Jacobs on ...

ARTICLE: EXTENDED ANALYSIS

Shorty Rogers: Four Classic Albums

Read "Shorty Rogers: Four Classic Albums" reviewed by David Rickert

Shorty RogersFour Classic AlbumsAvid Group 2011 Trumpeter Shorty Rogers was one of the few jazz musicians to embrace the big band sound long after the commercial appeal for the genre was over, and despite the lack of commercial viability, he produced a series of terrific albums in ...

ARTICLE: BIG BAND REPORT

"Modern Sounds," or: Running a Marathon in Full Body Armor

Read ""Modern Sounds," or: Running a Marathon in Full Body Armor" reviewed by Jack Bowers

From October 19-25 Betty and I were at the Los Angeles Marriott Airport Hotel to attend Modern Sounds, the L.A. Jazz Institute's four-day salute to West Coast jazz, followed by a day-long tribute to Stan Kenton on the hundredth anniversary of the legendary bandleader's birth. We arrived a day early to be primed and ready for ...

ARTICLE: BIG BAND REPORT

BuJazzO: That's German for Swinging Big Band Jazz

Read "BuJazzO: That's German for Swinging Big Band Jazz" reviewed by Jack Bowers

On August 8, my friend Wes Pfarner and I drove to Santa Fe for a once-in-a lifetime event: a performance by the German Federal Youth Jazz Orchestra, better known to big band enthusiasts by its more condensed and colorful name, BuJazzO. The twenty-piece ensemble, directed by Jiggs Whigham, an American trombonist and educator from Cleveland, Ohio, ...

NEWS: RECORDING

John Graas: Complete '50s Sessions

John Graas: Complete '50s Sessions

What's surprising about the French horn isn't that it became a jazz instrument but that there were so many fine jazz players in the late 1940s and '50s. Among the best were Junior Collins, Julius Watkins, David Amram, John Cave, Willie Ruff, Tony Miranda, Jimmy Buffington and Gunther Schuller. But perhaps the finest of them all ...

ARTICLE: BIG BAND REPORT

Big Band Jazz: It's Not Just for Guys Anymore

Read "Big Band Jazz: It's Not Just for Guys Anymore" reviewed by Jack Bowers

Back in the early '90s, Stanley Kay, one-time back-up drummer for the incomparable Buddy Rich, later a manager of such artists as Maurice Hines, Michelle Lee and Paul Burke and the entertainment director for the New York Yankees, had a good idea: the time had come, he reasoned, to assemble an all-woman big band that would ...

Jack's Gone! No He Isn't; Yes He Is; No He Isn't...!

Read "Jack's Gone! No He Isn't; Yes He Is; No He Isn't...!" reviewed by Jack Bowers

As I sat down to write this month's column, word came that trumpeter Jack Sheldon had died. No sooner had I written a few words about that when word came that trumpeter Jack Sheldon had not died. After some back-and-forth on the internet (is he or isn't he?), the last report, it seems, was the true ...

ARTICLE: BIG BAND REPORT

Gold Medalists Abound at Big Band Olympics

Read "Gold Medalists Abound at Big Band Olympics" reviewed by Jack Bowers

As this is being written, Betty and I are just back from a ten-day visit to California, the first six days of which would be of absolutely no interest to readers of this column. The last four, however, were spent at the Los Angeles Airport Marriott Hotel attending the L.A. Jazz Institute's “Big Band Olympics," which ...

ARTICLE: ALBUM REVIEWS

Ed Puddick Big Band: Guys and Dolls

Read "Guys and Dolls" reviewed by Robert J. Robbins

In the hands of the twenty-something bandleader and arranger Ed Puddick and his equally young, London-based seventeen-piece ensemble, Frank Loesser's classic Broadway score joins the ranks of those which have been adapted for big band (Stan Kenton's West Side Story, Les Brown's South Pacific, and Ted Heath's The Sound of Music all come to mind). Puddick's ...


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