Ken Poston's Big Band Showcase: You Had to Be There
And by the time this appears, the Los Angeles Jazz Society should have held its 24th annual Jazz Tribute Awards Dinner and Concert. This year's honorees include Johnny Mandel (2007 Jazz Tribute Honoree), pianist/bandleader Bob Florence (Composer/Arranger Award), singer/actress/jazz club owner Marla Gibbs (Lifetime Achievement Award) and the L.A. Jazz Institute's Ken Poston (Terri Merrill-Aarons Founders Award). Warmest congratulations to all of them!
And on the Horizon...
Graham Carter, head of Jazzed Media Records, says the label plans to produce "Artisty in Rhythm, a documentary assessing the more than three-decades-long career of Stan Kenton and his orchestra. To say that something like this is long overdue would be an understatement. Kenton led one of a handful of groundbreaking big bands in the history of Jazz, and the list of composers, arrangers and players who came out of his orchestra reads like a who's who of renowned artists. Jazzed Media has already produced a documentary on Phil Woods ("A Life in E Flat ) and is soon to release another on Bud Shank ("Against the Tide ). Artists who have recorded for the JM label include Woods, Shank, Terry Gibbs, Bill Holman, Bob Florence, Bill Charlap, Carl Saunders, Hubert Laws, Marvin Stamm, Bill Mays, Brian Lynch, Don Menza, Christian Jacob, Scott Whitfield, Andy Martin, Lanny Morgan, Bobby Shew, Irene Kral, Bob Lark, Jackie & Roy, Ron Stout, Jim McNeely, Mel Martin, Benny Carter, Frank Tiberi, Jeff Hamilton, John and Jeff Clayton and Matt Wilson. There's no word yet on when the Kenton documentary will be released, so keep your eyes and ears open.
The Mike Vax Big Band, featuring alumni of the Stan Kenton Orchestra, has announced preliminary plans for its Spring Tour '08 from April 21-May 10. This will be a Midwest tour, with engagements now being sought in Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Missouri and nearby states. The band tours under the auspices of Friends of Big Band Jazz, and more information can be found at its web site, www.bigbandjazz.net
And that's it for now. Until next time, keep swingin'!
New and Noteworthy
- Birdland Big Band, The Lew Anderson Tribute Concert (no label)
- Vince Norman / Joe McCarthy Big Band, Words Cannot Express (OA2)
- Stan Kenton, Cool, Hot & Swingin' (Tantara)
- Slidewerke, The Geezer Strikes! (American Creative Music)
- Ryan Haines Big Band, People & Places (Sea Breeze Jazz)
- Tony Faulkner Jazz Orchestra, Thad Jones and the Ellington Effect (GLP/ Capri)
- Christina Fuchs / NDR Big Band, Soundscapes (Jazzhaus)
- Jump City Jazz Orchestra, Live at Chris' Jazz Café (JCJO)
- Wayne Wallace, Dedication (Patois Records)
- Howard University Jazz Ensemble, Here's to Life! (HUJE)
- New Big Band featuring John Blount, Better Days Ahead (Sea Breeze)
- Walsall Jazz Orchestra, Little Steps (WJO)
- Mace Francis Orchestra, Chinese Whispers (no label)
- University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, Christmas Day, My Favorite Day (Sea Breeze Vista)
- C.U.G. Jazz Orchestra, Going on the Road (CUG Records)