One of the ultimate big band jazz experiences of the year occured May 22nd, with the 15th annual "Kenton Clan Party" at the Holiday Inn Ballroom in Monrovia, CA. The theme was "Contemporary Concepts," a 50th anniversary tribute to Kenton's 1955 Capitol album of the same name.
As organizer Steven D. Harris put it, "Celebrate in style as the Kenton Clan presents a swinging recreation of possibly the most famous and often-requested album of Kenton's entire recorded oeuvre. Originally recorded in two sessions for Capitol Records in July, 1955, the LP has since been considered one of the ultimate Kenton offering by fans, critics and musicians alike. A 20-piece Kenton Kicks Alumni Orchestra will perform each track in playing order as it was originally released, as well as the additional titles from this Chicago session (such as the tasty Ann Richards vocal charts) a half-century ago. These timeless and sophisticated arrangements from the pen of Bill Holman and Gerry Mulligan will also include the 3-part 'opus' series by composer Gene Roland. This 'colors' suite of 1955-56 consists of Opus in Chartreuse, Opus in Turquoise, and Opus in Beige. Historic Kenton videos will also be previewed, including two rare, newly discovered kinescopes from 1959."
For more information, contact Harris via firstname.lastname@example.org.
Meanwhile, the Los Angeles Jazz Institute dedicated its four-day long jazz festival, being held at the Four Points Sheraton-LAX in Westchester, CA May 26th through the 29th, to the creative ideals set forth by Stan Kenton's Los Angeles Neophonic Orchestra. Guest directors for concerts include Kenton alumni Lennie Niehaus and Bill Holman, and there are appearances scheduled by the Bob Florence Limited Edition and the Gerald Wilson Orchestra.
Kenton's 19-piece Neophonic Orchestra performed three seasons in Los Angeles, starting in 1965, and was praised for outstanding musicianship and imaginative compositions.
The 2005 "Bunny Berigan Jazz Jubilee" was held May 13-15 in Fox Lake, WI, which was Bunny's hometown. Besides much music, including "The Bunny Berigan Memorial Band," led by Rev. Al Townsend, a special guest was Bob Dupuis, author of Bunny Berigan: Elusive Legend of Jazz. Copies of the revised edition of the book could be purchased at the Jubilee and were autographed by Mr. Dupuis. And a "summit party" was held at the apartment complex where Bunny's daughter, Joyce, lives.
The 38th annual West Virginia "Coon Sanders Nighthawks Fans' Bash" took place May 13-14 at the Ramada Inn Express in Huntington, WV. Entertainment included hot jazz sounds from the Coon Sanders era, as well as traditional New Orleans jazz, along with jug band music.
"Today" on NBC-TV asked its viewers what they want to do before they die, and over 50,000 people wrote back various hopes. One of them, Heather May of Ellensburg, WA, stated, "I would like to see my husband conduct a famous orchestra . . . My husband is a middle school and high school band director in a small town in Washington state." Her spouse, Don May, didn't get to direct a band, but, instead, was invited to New York City May 4th, to play trombone with pianist Peter Duchin's orchestra on 'Today.' (Show producers and his wife had fooled May into thinking that he was there to talk about music education.)
Duchin, who has appeared on "Today" a number of times before, said, "It's always a thrill. 'Today' is top of the line!"
Deslyn Downes has been hired as the new Assistant Director at The Louis Armstrong House & Archives in Queens, NY. More than 35 applications were received for the position, and the search committee interviewed four finalists.
Ms. Downes, who was the unanimous choice of the search committee, has a background as a museum professional. Since 2001 she has been the Exhibits and Programs Coordinator for the Brooklyn Historical Society. She also has served in various positions at the Brooklyn College Library, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and the Museum of the City of New York. She has a certificate in Museum Studies from NYU, a Masters in Latin American & Caribbean Studies from NYU, and a BA in Archaeology with a minor in clarinet performance from the University of Albany.
From 1997 to 1999, she was the full-time Administrative Assistant for the Louis Armstrong House & Archives.
Eddie Barclay [r.n. Edouard Ruault], 84, producer (Blue Star, Barclay labels), May 13,
urinary and pulmonary infections
Robert Ripley, 82, cellist (Miller AAF '43-'45), ca.May 18
Tasso Harris, 85?, trombonist (Thornhill '40-'42, '46; Shaw Navy; Donahue Navy; Rey '47),
May 21, following a stroke several weeks earlier
Thurl Ravenscroft, 91, studio vocalist (J. Gray '53-54 And the Bull Walked Around, Olay and
Pale Moon (An Indian Love Song)), May 22, prostate cancer
Faddis, Jon. "High Life: Snooky Young has Hit All the Right Notes as First Trumpeter for
Lunceford, Basie and Many Others," DownBeat, May 2005, p.42+.
Lebo, Jack. "Big Band Report," Joslin's Jazz Journal, May 2005.
Levin, Floyd. "Memories of the Legendary Jazz Pianist Joe Bushkin - 1916-2004,"
Jazz Journal International, May 2005, p.11.
"New CD Releases: Basie New Testament Band Brings Him (and Swing) Success All Over
Again," ejazznews, May 1, 2005.
Odell, Jennifer. "Plans Emerge for Jazz Museum in Harlem," DownBeat, May 2005, p.16.
Poet, J. "50 Years with Delmark Records... and Counting," Discoveries, May 2005, pp.18-19.
Scott. "Trouble with Cinderella" [ re: Artie Shaw ], powerlineblog.com, May 23, 2005.
Tumpak, John. "Ray McKinley: 75 Years with the Big Bands," Joslin's Jazz Journal,
May 2005, pp.11-14.
Vache, Warren W. Studies in Jazz #46: Sittin' In with Chris Griffin: A Reminiscence of Radio
and Recording's Golden Years (Lanham, MD: Scarecrow Press, May 2005). "This authentic
account of the Big Band Era and the Age of Swing is alive with firsthand dialogue by Chris
Griffin. Vaché traces the events spanning Griffin's career from his time in the Benny Goodman
band with Harry James and Ziggy Elman in what Duke Ellington dubbed the best brass section
of its day through his freelance years in radio, television and records . . . Griffin's honesty and
humor shine through the text as he recalls a time when talent and dedication to quality were
supreme. Seventeen photographs and an excellent discography provided by Ed Berger further
the understanding of Griffin as a man and an artist."
Wallo, Bill. "Review: Glenn Miller Jazz Moods: Hot," Blogcritics.org, May 26, 2005.
Wright, Charlie. "Guy Lombardo band draws big crowd to performance in Canton [IL],"
The Daily Ledger / cantondailyledger.com, May 2, 2005.
NEW CD RELEASES:
Ella Fitzgerald, "Jukebox Ella: The Complete Verve Singles, Vol.2," Verve
Benny Goodman, "The Young Benny Goodman" [ 1928-31 ], Timeless 1088
Ted Heath, "Decca Singles and Rarities, Volume 2," Vocalion 4276
--- "The Lost Treasures of Ted Heath" [ 1960s ], Horatio Nelson 4444 ( 4 CDs )
--- "More Lost Treasures of Ted Heath" [ 1960-63 ], Horatio Nelson 103 ( 4 CDs )
--- "The Very Best of the Ted Heath Band," Horatio Nelson 8001
Woody Herman, "The Everest Years," VI Music 450691
Jo Jones, "The Everest Years," VI Music 450690
Guy Lombardo, "Drifting and Dreaming/Dancing Room Only," Vocalion 4295
Sammy Nestico and the SWR Big Band, "No Time Like the Present," Hanssler Classic
Red Norvo, "Naturally!," VSOP 35
Johnny Richards, "Mosaic Select: Johnny Richards," Mosaic MS-017 ( 3 CDs ) [ six albums,
made between 1955-1966, all on CD for the first time ]
Freddie Slack, "Mosaic Select: Freddie Slack," Mosaic MS-018 ( 3 CDs ) [ 65 tracks, incl. 15
previously unissued; + Capitol sides by Ray McKinley's 1942 band ]
Jerry Wald, "Jerry's Jump: Jerry Wald's Greatest 1943-1958," Joyce 1021
Lawrence Welk, "Champagne Favorites," Varese Sarabande 66650
ITINERARIES - SELECT LIST:
Les Brown's Band of Renown directed by Les Brown, Jr.: May 1-29, Branson, MO
[ performances Wed. through Sun. ]
Cab Calloway Orchestra conducted by C. Calloway Brooks: [ Brooks guest conducts the
"Music of Your Life" Orchestra ] May 5-14, Grand Lido Negril Resort & Spa, Jamaica
Jimmy Dorsey Orchestra directed by Bill Tole: May 21, Pella, IA; June 3, Spokane, WA
Gene Krupa Orchestra directed by Michael Berkowitz: May 13, Palace Theater, Greensburg,
The Modernaires: May 28, Paradise Performing Arts Center, Paradise, CA
Russ Morgan Orchestra directed by Jack Morgan: May 17-18, The Club, Birmingham, AL;
May 20, Lafayette Motor Hotel, Marietta, OH; May 21, American Legion, Orland, IN; May 22,
Crystal Ballroom, Staunton, IL; May 25-26, Col Ballroom, Davenport, IL; May 27, Circa 21
Dinner Theater, Rock Island, IL; May 28-29, Holiday Inn, Davenport, IA
Gerald Wilson: [ as guest conductor with The Chicago Jazz Ensemble ] May 7-8, The Field
Museum, Chicago, IL
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