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Bill Perkins

Bill Perkins was essentially a West Coast jazz musician, but in his varied career worked with music legends like Woody Herman, Stan Kenton, Art Pepper, Duke Ellington's band, and with Victor Feldman played on some of Steely Dan's legendary albums. A large part of his career was spent, playing with Doc Severinsen's Tonight Show Band for nearly twenty five years. Bill Perkins is one of the outstanding members of the legion of technically gifted and musically inspired tenor players who emerged at the beginning of the fifties. He was a hit with Kenton, and it is perhaps no coincidence that all of Kenton's recordings that feature Perkins are good ones and they remain as fresh today as when they were recorded. Similarly his work on some of Woody Herman's recordings from that time have achieved classic status, where his soloing is a showcase of delicacy and form. Perkins recorded little under his own name, with notable exceptions as in “On Stage"The Bill Perkins Octet” (Vogue) which has him leading Bud Shank, Jack Nimitz, Carl Fontana, Stu Williamson, Russ Freeman, Red Mitchell and Mel Lewis, and “Journey To The East,” recorded 28 years later in 1984 (Contemporary) where the Lester Young influence, which has always affected his playing so strongly, is diverted by a palpable injection of Sonny Rollins

Jazz & Film: An Alternative Top 20 Soundtrack Albums

Read "Jazz & Film: An Alternative Top 20 Soundtrack Albums" reviewed by Chris May

Jazz and the movies have a shared history stretching back almost a hundred years. The relationship came into its own in the US in the mid twentieth century. Elia Kazan's 1950 movie Panic In The Streets is an early example of how film makers used jazz-based soundtracks to enhance drama and atmosphere and create ambiances of ...

ARTICLE: ALBUM REVIEW

Stan Kenton and His Orchestra: A Kenton Trilogy, Part 1: Dance Time

Read "A Kenton Trilogy, Part 1: Dance Time" reviewed by Jack Bowers

Better late than never. Having already appraised Part 2 of Sounds of Yesteryear's three-part salute to the Stan Kenton Orchestra, it seemed only proper that the same should be done (albeit out of order) for Part 1 (and Part 3 as well, whenever it is released). Unlike Part 2, which is devoted to the artistry of ...

ARTICLE: ALBUM REVIEW

Stan Kenton: A Kenton Trilogy, Part 2 / The Sound of Jazz

Read "A Kenton Trilogy, Part 2 / The Sound of Jazz" reviewed by Jack Bowers

The Sound of Jazz by the legendary Stan Kenton Orchestra follows Part 1 of a Kenton Trilogy, Dance Time, and hopefully precedes a third component yet to be named. Although Kenton has been gone for more than forty years (he died in August 1979), he has hardly been forgotten, with reissues of concert and studio sessions ...

ARTICLE: ALBUM REVIEW

Stan Kenton and His Orchestra: Jazz Journey

Read "Jazz Journey" reviewed by Jack Bowers

For those who thought that reissues of albums by the Stan Kenton Orchestra had faded away as the well ran dry, think again: from Sounds of Yesteryear comes a welcome and invigorating Jazz Journey, traversing half a dozen concerts by the superb Kenton Orchestra that consist for the most part of unissued material from the years ...

ARTICLE: BIG BAND REPORT

Los Angeles Jazz Institute Festival - Woodchopper's Ball: Part 2-4

Read "Los Angeles Jazz Institute Festival - Woodchopper's Ball: Part 2-4" reviewed by Simon Pilbrow

Los Angeles Jazz Institute Festival “Woodchoppers' Ball" Four Points by Sheraton at LAX Los Angeles, CA May 23-27, 2018 Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 Concert 4: Keen and Peachy: Music of the Woody Herman Second Herd -Directed by Michael Berkowitz ...

ARTICLE: PROFILE

James Clay: Texas Tenor, Second Generation

Read "James Clay: Texas Tenor, Second Generation" reviewed by David Perrine

The term “Texas tenor" was originally coined to describe the sound and style of such swing era players as Herschel Evans, Illinois Jacquet, Buddy Tate, Budd Johnson, Arnett Cobb and others, and has subsequently been applied to second generation players from Texas that included James Clay, David “Fathead" Newman and Marchel Ivery. What these players had ...

ARTICLE: ALBUM REVIEW

David Angel Big Band: Camshafts and Butterflies

Read "Camshafts and Butterflies" reviewed by Jack Bowers

Like the proverbial tree falling in an empty forest, if a big band plays but no one hears it, does it still make a sound? That's basically the story of the David Angel Big Band, which has been rehearsing nearly every week for well-nigh half a century but has been heard by almost no one until ...

ARTICLE: EXTENDED ANALYSIS

Stan Kenton Alumni Band: Road Scholars

Read "Stan Kenton Alumni Band: Road Scholars" reviewed by Jack Bowers

Road Scholars? A clever title indeed, but these gentlemen (and three ladies) are more akin to “road maestros," an appraisal that is abundantly clear from A to Z on this latest recording by trumpeter Mike Vax's turbo-charged Stan Kenton Alumni Band, taped at various concerts during the band's 2013 spring tour, a two-week, three-thousand-mile odyssey that ...

ARTICLE: BIG BAND REPORT

In Tune or Not in Tune... That Is the Question

Read "In Tune or Not in Tune... That Is the Question" reviewed by Jack Bowers

Suppose a month goes by, you have a column to publish, but nothing has happened that's worth writing about. What do you do then? Read on, as the question is about to be answered. A while back there was a discussion at a Stan Kenton web site (Kentonia) about musicians or groups of ...


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