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MUSICIAN Born:

Rick Hirsch

Rick Hirsch is an award-winning composer and arranger who began his career as a personal music copyist for Bob Mintzer and Toshiko Akiyoshi. He has written music for jazz icons Yusef Lateef and Eddie Henderson, the Capitol Quartet, and the storied Penn State Blue Band, to name but a few.

He is in-demand as a guest conductor and formerly served on the music faculty of Penn State University.

In 2017 Rick Hirsch’s BIG OL’ BAND released their debut album, Pocono Git-Down, celebrating the vibrant under-the-radar jazz scenes beyond the big cities.

Hirsch studied improvisation with Yusef Lateef, Boysie Lowery, and Dave Liebman, and saxophone with Lynn Klock and Steve Duke

ARTICLE: ALBUM REVIEW

University of Kentucky Jazz Ensemble: On the Road

Read "On the Road" reviewed by Jack Bowers

The University of Kentucky Jazz Ensemble was indeed On the Road in recent years, performing the first eight of the fourteen numbers on this impressive album at the 2017 Elmhurst College (IL) Jazz Festival, the others at the Montreux and North Sea (Netherlands) Jazz Festivals in 2011. If you are puzzled by the lack of audience ...

Pocono Git-Down

Label: Big Ol' Records
Released: 2017
Track listing: Giddyup!; Pocono Git-Down; Tonight, We Tango; Wonderful Tonight; The Old Chief's Lookout; Metroliner; The Witching Hour; Mambo Over the Mountain; The Way You Make Me Feel

ARTICLE: ALBUM REVIEW

UNI Jazz Band One: That Doesn't Even Look Like You

Read "That Doesn't Even Look Like You" reviewed by Jack Bowers

For more than two decades, the University of Northern Iowa's Jazz Band One has been recognized as one of the country's leading undergraduate ensembles, on a par with such outstanding programs as those at the Universities of North Texas, Miami, Northern Colorado, Cincinnati, North and South Florida and Wisconsin-Eau Claire, among others. That Doesn't Even Look ...

ARTICLE: ALBUM REVIEW

Rick Hirsch's Big Ol' Band: Pocono Git-Down

Read "Pocono Git-Down" reviewed by Jack Bowers

Even though the days of cross-country bus trips, one-night stands and regular appearances on radio and TV have long since vanished, big bands continue to dot the landscape on all corners of the map, from such large population hubs as New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, Miami, San Francisco and others to cities and towns so small ...

Found 'Em

Label: Big Ol' Records
Released: 2016
Track listing: Great Big Ball with a Map Wrapped Around It; Free Food?; Soaring; Manhunt; Suspended; Aspire; Peace at Home; Alehouse Rock; Catch Me if You Can!

ARTICLE: ALBUM REVIEW

University of Northern Iowa Jazz Band One 2014-15: Local Color

Read "Local Color" reviewed by Jack Bowers

In Local Color, the latest in a long series of splendid albums by the University of Northern Iowa's Jazz Band One, color is one of the primary ingredients; every number, in fact, is awash in radiant colors, from the prismatic opener, UNI alum Michael Conrad's “Gerry's Timepiece," to the chimerical closer, Curtis Fuller's dark-hued “The Egyptian." ...

ARTICLE: EXTENDED ANALYSIS

The Rob Parton Big Band: Christmas Time Is Here

Read "The Rob Parton Big Band: Christmas Time Is Here" reviewed by Jack Bowers

The only plausible impetus for releasing an album of Christmas themes so close to the holiday itself is the inclusion of music that transcends the season and may be auditioned and appreciated throughout the year. Trombonist Chris McDonald accomplished that with his splendid album In the Mood for Christmas, and trumpeter Rob Parton has mirrored that ...

UNI Jazz Band: The Hard Way

Read "UNI Jazz Band: The Hard Way" reviewed by Jack Bowers

UNI stands for the University of Northern Iowa whose tradition of producing first-rate big-band recordings spans more than two decades, first under director Bob Washut and more recently under his successor, Chris Merz (The Hard Way is the twentieth album by the university's Jazz Band One in my library). This is a “semi-live" date on which ...

Nova Jazz Orchestra / Christian McBride Big Band / NYJO

Read "Nova Jazz Orchestra / Christian McBride Big Band / NYJO" reviewed by Jack Bowers

Nova Contemporary Jazz OrchestraWho Sez You Can't Dance to Bebop?Nova Jazz2010 When last heard from, Minnesota's dauntless Nova Jazz Orchestra was performing alongside the legendary Stan Kenton Orchestra--well, not actually “alongside," but as part of the Tantara label's ongoing two-disc salute to Kenton, Double Feature, Vol. 2. ...


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