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Farewell, Al Porcino

Farewell, Al Porcino

Al Porcino, a powerful lead trumpeter for several big bands, died on New Years Eve in Munich, Germany. He was 88. Porcino had lived in Germany since the late 1970s, frequently augmenting American bands touring in Europe, as well as leading his own large ensemble. A family member who reported his passing offered no information about ...


Stan Kenton: Road Shows

Read "Stan Kenton: Road Shows" reviewed by Jack Bowers

For younger readers: yes, there was a time long ago when large groups of talented jazz musicians traveled without respite from city to city and town to town, braving one-night stands or more night after night in (mostly) sold-out concert halls, dance halls, pavilions, nightclubs, schools and other venues. They were known as big bands, so ...


Skelton Skinner All Stars / Clare Fischer Big Band / Ron Carter's Great Big Band

Read "Skelton Skinner All Stars / Clare Fischer Big Band / Ron Carter's Great Big Band" reviewed by Jack Bowers

Skelton Skinner Allstars Big Band

Cookin' with the Lid On

Diving Duck Records


Back in the late 1950s, vibraphonist Terry Gibbs (with some help from his friends) put together an ensemble that became known as the Terry Gibbs Dream Band, took up residence in Hollywood and began blowing audiences ...


Take Five With Tommy Vig

Read "Take Five With Tommy Vig" reviewed by Tommy Vig

Meet Tommy Vig:
Born to a musical family in Budapest, Tommy Vig was internationally recognized as a child prodigy by the age of six, playing drums with his father, clarinetist Gyorgy Vig. His sense of improvisation, rhythm and energy at that young age made him unique, and he performed live concerts on radio, at ...


Interview: Al Porcino (Part 3)

Interview: Al Porcino (Part 3)

Tell most big band trumpeters from the '50s that you dig jazz, and they'll likely correct you by saying that they didn't play jazz. A majority of musicians who played in the trumpet sections of prominent bands viewed themselves as highly skilled readers who added a particular flavor to the whole ensemble, not improvisers. Except, that ...


Interview: Al Porcino (Part 2)

Interview: Al Porcino (Part 2)

If you own a big band album from the post-war years, chances  are Al Porcino is playing first trumpet on the recording. Al often was featured in that chair for his swinging leadership skills, the clarity of his playing, his sight-reading abilities and his knack for hitting screaming high notes. A trumpet section's job is to ...


Interview: Al Porcino (Part 1)

Interview: Al Porcino (Part 1)

Al Porcino is easily one of jazz's greatest living trumpet   players. In addition to playing on 342 recording sessions since 1942, he is the last known surviving member of Charlie Parker's first strings date—Neal Hefti's recording of Repetition in December 1947. Al also has the distinction of having played first trumpet in nearly every major big ...


Dani Felber Big Band / Dan Gailey Jazz Orchestra / Jazz Composer's Workshop Orchestra

Read "Dani Felber Big Band / Dan Gailey Jazz Orchestra / Jazz Composer's Workshop Orchestra" reviewed by Jack Bowers

Dani Felber Big Band

More Than Just Friends

Self Published


Before hazarding any premature comment about the merits of this new album by Swiss bandleader Dani Felber, it must be noted at the outset that one of Felber's good friends is former Count Basie stalwart Frank Foster whose even-handed ...


Salute to Stan Kenton: Artistry in Contrast

Read "Salute to Stan Kenton: Artistry in Contrast" reviewed by Jack Bowers

Artistry in Rhythm, the Ken Poston / Los Angeles Jazz Institute's 2009 homage to the renowned bandleader Stan Kenton, was held October 8-11 at the Sheraton LAX Four Points Hotel. As always, there was much to see, hear and admire: films, panel discussions, special presentations and, last but not least, no fewer than nineteen concerts by ...


Jacksonville: Big City, Big Band, Big Plans

Read "Jacksonville: Big City, Big Band, Big Plans" reviewed by Jack Bowers

Almost everyone who's even mildly interested knows that the big band scene in the US isn't what it used to be. On the other hand, the big bands aren't yet dead, as some alarmists have claimed, or even on life support. Thanks in part to college and armed services programs, there are perhaps as many or ...