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Gary Urwin

The Gary Urwin Jazz Orchestra is an eighteen-piece “big band” jazz group in Los Angeles that came into being in 1997, comprised of hand-picked players with whom leader Gary Urwin had been associated over the years as an arranger and trumpet player. Gary's role is to arrange or compose all the music we do, and to lead the band when we perform or record. With the active support of Business Manager and co-producer Pat Longo, we began work on our first CD ("Perspectives"), which debuted on Sea Breeze Records in 2000. Word of mouth spread quickly, and the band’s activities grew into enthusiastically-received live appearances, a follow-up Sea Breeze CD ("Living in the Moment") in 2003 reflecting the band’s development and growth, and a third CD currently in the works. The band is committed to using familiar tools in a fresh way to stretch the idiom, while always swinging and remaining true to the jazz roots of the music. The band has been referred to as “A veritable who’s who among the Los Angeles area’s most accomplished studio and big-band artists.” It enjoys the talents of well known Los Angeles jazz personalities Pete Christlieb, Wayne Bergeron, Bobby Shew, Kim Richmond, Charlie Loper, Alex Iles, Christian Jacob, Trey Henry, Ron King, Ralph Razze and many others.

ARTICLE: ALBUM REVIEW

Carl Saunders: Jazz Trumpet

Read "Jazz Trumpet" reviewed by Dan Bilawsky

Septuagenarian trumpeter Carl Saunders, whose horn served and enhanced the music of Stan Kenton, Ella Fitzgerald, Frank Sinatra and numerous other icons, has been a steady presence on the Summit Records imprint. Whether exploring rare Bill Holman charts or crafting a program with a patriotic shine, acting as a featured guest with the Gary Urwin Jazz ...

ARTICLE: CATCHING UP WITH

Gary Urwin: Inside the Mind of an Arranger

Read "Gary Urwin: Inside the Mind of an Arranger" reviewed by Rob Wood

The arranger of music scores is as important as a crankshaft in an engine. Yet many are destined to live in the shadows. Ralph Carmichael was subsumed by the luster of Stan Kenton. Arranger Paul Riser, who wrote the opening bars to “Dancing in the Street," is a virtual unknown. And then there is ...

A Big Band Spectacular? You Bet Your Brass!

Read "A Big Band Spectacular? You Bet Your Brass!" reviewed by Jack Bowers

On May 23, Betty and I flew to jny: Los Angeles to attend the L.A. Jazz Institute's semi-annual ode to swinging, this one labeled Big Band Spectacular and slated for Thursday through Sunday, May 25-28. We rearranged our schedule to arrive a day early, even before Wednesday's “bonus" event, to attend the funeral of a longtime ...

A Beautiful Friendship

Label: Summit Records
Released: 2014
Track listing: A Beautiful Friendship; Waltz for Debby; Emmanuel; Autumn Sojourn; Guess I’ll Hang My Tears Out to Dry; It Could Happen to You; The Gentle Rain; Shaw ‘Nuff; Look to the Sky; Dear Mr. Florence; Joy Spring; We’ll Be Together Again.

ARTICLE: ALBUM REVIEW

The Gary Urwin Jazz Orchestra: A Beautiful Friendship

Read "A Beautiful Friendship" reviewed by Jack Bowers

Sometimes, just when it seems things couldn't possibly get any better, they do. That is certainly the case with A Beautiful Friendship, the spectacular new recording by arranger Gary Urwin's superlative southern California-based Jazz Orchestra. Having released three earlier albums showcasing the exceptional artistry of tenor saxophonist Pete Christlieb and / or trombonist Bill Watrous, Urwin ...

ARTICLE: BIG BAND REPORT

Swingin' on a Riff . . . Hangin' by a Thread?

Read "Swingin' on a Riff . . . Hangin' by a Thread?" reviewed by Jack Bowers

Betty and I returned to Albuquerque on Memorial Day after attending Swingin' on a Riff, the latest in a series of marvelous semi-annual events presented by Ken Poston and the Los Angeles Jazz Institute for more than twenty years at venues in and around L.A. This one was held May 23-26 at the Los Angeles Marriott ...

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

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 ...

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, ...


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