June 25, 1998 |
There's nothing quite like having a grand mentor. And that's just what Jimmy McConnell got when Thad Jones encouraged him to start a big band. Trumpeter-arranger-composer McConnell and his wife, Sue Ann, were living in Kansas City when the band led by Jones--a fine modern jazz orchestral composer--and his partner, drummer Mel Lewis, came to town. They played the Fabulous Mark IV, a posh jazz club that the McConnells owned.
June 2, 1995 |
As the old saw goes, it's hard to argue with success. But this year, as the Valley Cultural Center begins its 20th season of free outdoor Sunday concerts in Warner Park, executive director Marilyn Hankins plans to try something different. Every concert will start at 4 p.m. and feature local performers or entertainment for children. "At 4 p.m., we're trying to showcase some people who haven't made it yet," Hankins says. "It's all local talent." Some of the performers slated for that 4 p.m.
October 11, 1993 |
Alto saxophonist Lanny Morgan made an impression even before his first set at Vinnie's Ristorante began. With just a few warm-up lines while he waited for his band mates to settle in, Morgan demonstrated a firm, commanding tone and an agile way of working through long, complex phrases that were impressive despite the lack of context.
June 4, 1989 |
It's long been common knowledge in the music industry that big bands have had their day. They no longer sell records, so there is no point in recording them. Right? Well, not entirely. At least one exception to the rule has shown that somewhere out there is a healthy body of big band jazz fans looking for some action, at least on records. The man who has filled this need is Terry Gibbs, the veteran vibraphonist, survivor of the 52nd Street bop era, one-time Goodman and Herman and Buddy Rich sideman, musical director for Steve Allen since the 1960s.
August 27, 1999 |
Back in 1959, vibraphonist Terry Gibbs' Dream Band, which plays Labor Day weekend at the West Coast Jazz Party in Irvine, made an entry into Hollywood history. Gibbs, then a recent New York transplant, moved a big band into the Seville club on Santa Monica Boulevard and created a small sensation among Hollywood club hangers of the time. "There were no big bands left then," says the 74-year-old Gibbs. "Just Count Basie and some others. The music business had completely changed.
January 3, 1992 |
When saxophonists Med Flory and Lanny Morgan lead their quintet next week at Jax, they should hang a sign in front that reads "Be-Bop Spoken Here." The two, who primarily play alto saxophone, are starting a series of Wednesday night gigs at the Glendale establishment.
June 29, 1992 |
"Hittin' and missin'." That's how trumpeter Lee Katzman, whose resume lists 1950s and '60s tenures with the big bands of Stan Kenton, Tommy Dorsey and Bill Holman and with small groups led by Shelly Manne, Sonny Stitt and Pepper Adams, describes his on-again, off-again career in the jazz trade. It looks as if Katzman, who names Dizzy Gillespie as his chief influence, is definitely in an "on" phase.
February 19, 1998 |
Pianist-composer David Goldblatt's career as a soundtrack writer for film and TV is taking off. He has contributed individual pieces, called "cues," to a number of feature films, and it's his score we hear on "The Defenders: Choice of Evil," currently airing on the Showtime Network. But as much as the versatile Chicago native sees soundtrack composing as his bread and butter, he says he never wants to lose sight of his main musical interest: playing the acoustic piano.
September 1, 1995 |
The first performances in three years by vibist Terry Gibbs' Dream Band highlights a Labor Day weekend chock-full of exciting jazz festivals. Gibbs, Jack Sheldon and Buddy DeFranco are the headliners at the inaugural West Coast Jazz Party, tonight through Monday at the Irvine Marriott Hotel.
September 5, 1995 |
IRVINE--The audience was bigger. The musicians were more relaxed, looser on stage. Best of all, a number of performances were outstanding, the kind of stirring efforts that touch the heart, the head and the soul. Everything was better on Sunday, the third day of the West Coast Jazz Party in the ballroom of the Irvine Marriott. Friday's performances had been gentlemanly, collaborative efforts in which no individual stood apart from the others.