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ARTICLE: ALBUM REVIEWS

Doug MacDonald: Jazz Marathon 2

Read "Jazz Marathon 2" reviewed by Jack Bowers

For those who thought that guitarist Doug MacDonald's happy-go-lucky jazz marathon had crossed the finish line with the release more than a year ago of Just for Fun, the good news is that MacDonald and his talented teammates have found their second wind and the marathon continues through a second effervescent two-CD session taped at the ...

ARTICLE: ALBUM REVIEWS

Doug MacDonald: Just for Fun

Read "Just for Fun" reviewed by Jack Bowers

While there are no household names on guitarist Doug MacDonald's new 2-CD set, Just for Fun (alto saxophonist Lanny Morgan or perhaps drummer Roy McCurdy may come closest), the sidemen he has chosen for a lively concert date billed as a “jazz marathon" are more than likely among the more accomplished jazz musicians you've seldom or ...

Time Check: A Paucity of Riches?

Read "Time Check: A Paucity of Riches?" reviewed by Jack Bowers

On May 18, Betty and I flew to Los Angeles to attend Time Check: A Buddy Rich Alumni Reunion, a four-day panorama sponsored by the L.A. Jazz Institute and held at the Sheraton Gateway Hotel, about a stone's throw or two from the LAX airport. We arrived early afternoon so we could also be present for ...

ARTICLE: ALBUM REVIEWS

The Empire Jazz Orchestra: Out of the Mist

Read "Out of the Mist" reviewed by Jack Bowers

Out of the Mist is the sixth album (and first in a studio) recorded by the Empire Jazz Orchestra, a professional repertory ensemble founded in 1992 and in residence since then at Schenectady County (NY) Community College. While there is no comprehensive theme underlining its latest enterprise, the EJO's stated purpose is to perform music from ...

Pointing Fingers... And Naming Names

Read "Pointing Fingers... And Naming Names" reviewed by Jack Bowers

As the countdown continues toward the last Big Band Report in June, the time has come to point fingers and name names--in other words, to compile a short list of contemporary jazz musicians who have risen above the norm to help make life more pleasurable for one devoted listener. These are, mind you, personal choices, and ...

ARTICLE: BIG BAND REPORT

SuperSax Me

Read "SuperSax Me" reviewed by Jack Bowers

Back in the early 1970s bassist Buddy Clark and saxophonist Med Flory conceived a brilliant idea: to form a group (primarily a reed section with rhythm) that would use orchestrated arrangements of saxophonist Charlie Parker's transcendent bop solos as the basis for its music. As for a name, nothing less than SuperSax would suffice. The nine-piece ...

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, ...

ARTICLE: BIG BAND REPORT

These Are a Few of My Favorite....Charts

Read "These Are a Few of My Favorite....Charts" reviewed by Jack Bowers

Whenever the topic of desert islands arises among jazz fans, the focus is invariably on which albums (discs) one would choose to cram into a suitcase if one were ever stranded on an otherwise barren island. While the consideration of particular arrangements seldom governs the debate, I really think it should. After all, few albums, however ...

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, ...