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Orchester Kurt Edelhagen: Big Bands Live

Read "Orchester Kurt Edelhagen: Big Bands Live" reviewed by Jack Bowers

Maestro Kurt Edelhagen's Orchestra was a band for its time, deftly blending elements of swing, pop and jazz to help move Germany--at least the Western part of it--away from Nazi strictures and toward a more open-handed environment that not only tolerated but nourished the country's alliance to big-band music that spawned a wide array of world-class ...

The "Desert Island" Revisited

Read "The "Desert Island" Revisited" reviewed by Jack Bowers

Back in the last millennium, shortly after this column first saw the light of day, I posted a list of twenty “desert island" albums, those that would be snugly ensconced in a crash-proof, water-tight carrying case should yours truly ever be marooned on a miniature atoll with nothing to relieve the boredom save palm trees, coconuts, ...

ARTICLE: BIG BAND REPORT

Toshiko Akiyoshi: The Music Keeps Her Young

Read "Toshiko Akiyoshi: The Music Keeps Her Young" reviewed by Jack Bowers

Pianist Billy Taylor, now in his eighty-ninth year, once recorded an album titled Music Keeps Us Young. I'm a firm believer in that and could point to several notable examples, one of whom is composer / pianist / bandleader Toshiko Akiyoshi who was in Albuquerque and Santa Fe last month with husband Lew Tabackin to headline ...

ARTICLE: BIG BAND REPORT

Strike Up the (Unsung) Bands

Read "Strike Up  the (Unsung) Bands" reviewed by Jack Bowers

The big band era is known for producing a number of enormously successful ensembles whose leaders were household names: Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington, Count Basie, Jimmie Lunceford, Fletcher Henderson, then on through Glenn Miller, Benny Goodman, the brothers Jimmy Dorsey and Tommy Dorsey, Charlie Barnet, Artie Shaw, Harry James, Cab Calloway, Lionel Hampton, Dizzy Gillespie and, ...

ARTICLE: ALBUM REVIEWS

Erwin Lehn Orchestra: Let 'Em Swing!

Read "Let 'Em Swing!" reviewed by Jack Bowers

Let 'Em Swing! surveys the early years (1951-65) of bandleader/vibraphonist Erwin Lehn's groundbreaking Südfunk-Tanzorchester, which continues today as the world-class SWR Big Band. Lehn led the band for forty years until his retirement at the end of 1991. The orchestra then became known as the SDR Big Band, and later the SWR.

Lehn's entire career as ...