Albuquerque's Red-Letter Day
The AJO and its guests made sure there was no letdown after the intermission, opening the second half of the concert with Sonny Stitt's labyrinthine "Eternal Triangle (blistering solos courtesy of House, Truitt and Taylor) before featuring Ishi (who'd no doubt have welcomed a better piano) on Frank Mantooth's marvelous arrangement of the ballad "Young and Foolish. The AJO then paid tribute to Mantooth with Doug Beach's "Missing 'Tooth (solos by Ulman, Truitt and trumpeter Henry Estrada) before Bergeron returned with a sumptuous reading, on flugel, of Kubis's "Hospital Blues.
Then it was House's turn again, this time on clarinet, playing Duke Ellington's "Silk Lace, written for the Duke's stellar clarinetist, Jimmy Hamilton. The AJO, Bergeron and House brought down the curtain (and brought down the house) in style with yet another outstanding Kubis chart, "The Rhythm Method, showcasing Wayne's muted trumpet with other strong statements by Ishi, House (clarinet), trumpeter Brad Dubbs, Taylor (soprano) and drummer Ryan Anthony.
The AJO lineup was as follows: Bruce Dalby, Brad Dubbs, Kent Erickson, Henry Estrada, Derek Warren, trumpets; Lee Taylor, Diantha Swoboda, alto sax; John Truitt, Neil Bell, tenor sax; Paul Blakey, baritone sax; Ed Ulman, John Sanks, Larry Wheeler, trombone; Bill Austell, bass trombone; Tim Ishi, piano; Robin Ablest, bass; Ryan Anthony, drums. Sanks is director of the band, Ulman director of the New Mexico Jazz Workshop. The concert ended a two-day event that included clinics and performances on Friday by eleven middle school jazz ensembles, and on Saturday by fifteen high school groups. I'm already looking forward to next year...
Speaking of big bands, the celebrated Count Basie Orchestra is coming to town for a one-nighter March 8 at nearby Rio Rancho High School whose jazz ensemble is directed by AJO trumpeter Brad Dubbs. We'll have a report on that concert next month. At the end of March, I'll be in Addison, TX, for the annual University of North Texas Jazz Festival, and will have a few words to say about that event too.
On a Somber Note...
I was saddened to learn of the passing at age 95 of Mart Kenny, one of Canada's pioneering big-band leaders, a saxophonist/clarinetist whose band was performing on radio as early as the '40s and maintained its popularity for more than six decades. Many of Mart's alumni went on to become bright lights on the Canadian jazz scene.
Before we go, a reminder that March is Jazz Appreciation Month. It's also National Brain Injury Awareness Month, but I'm not quite sure how that ties in.
And that's it for now. Until next time, keep swingin'... !
New and Noteworthy
- Mike Barone Big Band, Live 2005! (Rhubarb Recordings)
- Maria Schneider Orchestra, Days of Wine and Roses (ArtistShare)
- Kenichi Tsunoda Big Band, Jumping Big (KTBB)
- Dave McMurdo, Canadian Composers Portraits: Phil Nimmons (Centrediscs)
- University of Toronto 10 O'Clock Jazz Orchestra, Rivers (Arbordisc)
- Sammy Nestico / SWR Big Band, Basie-cally Sammy (Hänssler Classic)
- Blue Notes Orchestra, 30th Anniversary (Muse)
- Irvin Mayfield New Orleans Jazz Orchestra, Strange Fruit (Basin Street Records)
- Lungau Big Band, Live at Montreux / The Monk's Progress (LBB)
- Emerald City Jazz Orchestra, Come Rain or Come Shine (Pony Boy Records)
- Paris Jazz Big Band, Paris 24 Heures (Cristal Records)
- Ryan Haines Big Band, New Horizons (Sea Breeze)
- BargaJazz, Sound & Score (Philology)
- Bill Warfield Big Band, A Faceless Place (Laurel Hill)
- Jazz I.N.C. Big Band, Lead On (JazzINC)