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All That Jazz

Mancini Program to Kick Off Series of Summer Concerts

July 09, 1999|DON HECKMAN | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

Jazz artists Christian McBride, Randy Brecker and Dave Frishberg, clarinetist Richard Stoltzman and film composer Jerry Goldsmith are among the featured artists who will perform at UCLA's Royce Hall in August when the Henry Mancini Institute conducts its annual summer student residency program.

The concerts, which are free to the public, kick off Aug. 7 with a show featuring McBride, Stoltzman and his pianist son, Peter, with the Henry Mancini Institute Big Band and Orchestra. Saxophonist Ernie Watts performs with the HMI Chamber Orchestra on Aug. 13, and with pianist Lincoln Mayorga and the HMI Orchestra on Aug. 14.

Brecker and the Turtle Island Quartet appear with the HMI Big Band and Chamber Orchestra on Aug. 20, and with the HMI Orchestra on Aug. 21. The schedule wraps up with the HMI Big Band conducted by veteran jazz bandleader Gerald Wilson on Aug. 27. There will also be a variety of recitals at Schoenberg Hall, the Skirball Center and at locations around Beverly Hills. The HMI summer concert series is presented by the Recording Industries Music Performance Trust Funds.

Now based at UCLA after two seasons at Cal State Long Beach, the Mancini Institute offers a monthlong residency to college and post-college-age students pursing careers in music. This year, the 80 musicians awarded fellowships--nearly two dozen of whom are California residents--come from the U.S., Canada, Japan and other countries. Each receives full tuition, room and board.

The institute's music director, Jack Elliott, is enthusiastic about the skill level of the student residents.

"The quality of the musicians we're getting this year is so high," he explains, "that some of the players who were here last year couldn't make the cut this time. We're expecting great things from this batch of talent."

In addition to their performances, the students attend master classes, are offered weekly lessons with members of the American Jazz Philharmonic (which Elliott also conducts) as well as opportunities for paid performances.

* The Royce Hall Mancini Institute concerts are free, but tickets must be reserved in advance. Reservations can be made by calling the Royce Hall box office at (310) 825-2101.

*

On Record: The reissue collections just keep coming. Anita O'Day, now in the middle of a remarkable comeback from a life-threatening illness, is featured in "The Complete Anita O'Day Verve/Clef Sessions," a nine-CD package from Mosaic Records (information: (203) 327-7111; http://www.mosaicrecords.com). The recordings, made between 1952 and 1962, place O'Day in a remarkably diverse array of settings. She performs with, among others, the Oscar Peterson Trio, the Cal Tjader Quartet, a nonet led by Jimmy Giuffre, a live set from Mister Kelly's in Chicago, a Billie Holiday tribute with Ben Webster and a reunion with Gene Krupa.

O'Day is also present in "Columbia All-Time Classics," a set of jazz-oriented CDs from Columbia Legacy. "Let Me Off Uptown" includes some of her classic work with Gene Krupa--the title track, of course, but also "Opus One" and the novelty number "Just a Little Bit South of North Carolina"--confirming her insistence that she be considered a rhythm singer rather than a ballad artist.

One of O'Day's principal competitors in the '40s was Peggy Lee, then an emerging star with the Benny Goodman Orchestra. "Peggy Lee & Benny Goodman: The Complete Recordings, 1941-1947" is a two-CD box with 38 tracks (including previously unreleased material as well as three tunes originally recorded for Capitol). "Why Don't You Do Right" and "How Long Has This Been Going On" are included.

Rosemary Clooney, never as honored as she should have been for her jazz skills, revealed that she had a lot more to offer than "Come On-A My House" in the 1956 recording, "Blue Rose: Rosemary Clooney and Duke Ellington and His Orchestra." The result was a classic, an extraordinary blend of Clooney's velvety voice and the unique timbre of the Ellington orchestra.

Other albums in the All-Time Classics series include: "Jazz Spectacular," a hard-swinging meeting between Frankie Laine and trumpeter Buck Clayton, accompanied by a band that includes the trombone duo of J.J. Johnson and Kai Winding; "Young Man With a Horn," from the 1950 motion picture, with the vocals of Doris Day and the trumpet work of Harry James; "Open Fire, Two Guitars," a Johnny Mathis album from 1958 in which he abandons his typical orchestral settings of the period to produce fine interpretations of romantic standards accompanied only by guitarists Tony Mottola and Al Caiola and an unidentified bassist.

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