Advertisement
YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollections

JAZZ REVIEW : Trumpeter Takes a Turn as Maestro

August 27, 1993|LEONARD FEATHER | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

Is Los Angeles running out of big bands? The thought came to mind Tuesday when George Graham, a trumpeter, borrowed some arrangements from Tom Kubis and presented himself as a maestro at the Moonlight Tango.

It could as well have been billed as the Kubis Band, since it was he who wrote most of the music, conducted at times, and played several saxophone solos. Moreover, among the sidemen were several who play musical chairs in other groups around town: Pete Christlieb, Charles Loper, Warren Luening.

Graham, a large man with a horn range to match, did take command effectively of some of Kubis' most inventive charts, such as "On a Clear Day," for which he played mellow fluegelhorn but ended in an altissimo trumpet groove.

Less effective and more pompous was Kubis' treatment of "Wind Beneath My Wings." One of the few non-Kubis items was a poignantly elegiac original, "Song for Barbara," by Bob Florence.

Steve Wilkerson's white alto sax was the centerpiece for a wild "Cherokee" that sacrificed emotion for motion. Christlieb's "Early Autumn" on tenor was an exercise in taste and discretion.

Dash Crofts of Seals and Crofts advised us nasally to get our kicks on Route 66, assured us that singing with this band was the climactic moment of his life, forgot the lyrics on "Georgic," and introduced several celebrities who had already been introduced.

The general performance level, both in solos and ensembles, was as commendable as one would expect from these seasoned pros. If Graham is set on a career as a bandleader, a partnership with Kubis might not be a bad idea.

Advertisement
Los Angeles Times Articles
|
|
|