I had the pleasure of performing as a substitute on Broadway’s “My Fair Lady” at Lincoln Center with these wonderful musicians Charley Gordon, and Marcus Rojas.
Jimmy Heath and the Queens Jazz Orchestra:
It Ain’t Over Yet
I had a wonderful time performing in Portland OR With the Vanguard Jazz Orxheatra.
VANGUARD JAZZ ORCHESTRA
FEBRUARY 12 – FEBRUARY 17
VILLAGE VANGUARD, 178 7TH AVENUE SOUTH, NEW YORK, NY 10014, (212) 255-4037
Dick Oatts (lead alto and soprano saxophones, flute)
Billy Drewes (alto and soprano saxophones, flute, clarinet)
Rich Perry (tenor saxophone, flute)
Ralph LaLama (tenor saxophone, flute, clarinet)
Gary Smulyan (baritone saxophone, bass clarinet)
Nick Marchione (lead)
Mark Patterson (lead)
Douglas Purviance (bass trombone)
Jim McNeely (piano)
John Riley (drums)
David Wong (bass)
The Vanguard Jazz Orchestra is a multiple Grammy Award-winning 16-piece jazz orchestra, comprised of a Who’s Who of New York City’s finest musicians.
The ensemble began its life as the Thad Jones/Mel Lewis Orchestra in 1966. They are celebrating their 53rd year performing at the Village Vanguard with this special week long residency!
The ensemble began its life as the Thad Jones/Mel Lewis Orchestra in 1966.
The world-famous Village Vanguard jazz club in New York City booked the newly formed band for three Monday nights that February. Those were wildly successful and the engagement was extended indefinitely. The Village Vanguard’s owner, Max Gordon, told Mel Lewis, “We’ll keep it going until it tapers off.” Over half a century and more than 2700 Monday nights later, it still hasn’t. The Vanguard Jazz Orchestra stands apart from all other modern ensembles of its kind and is still as strong and vital as ever.
From the very beginning, the Thad Jones/Mel Lewis Orchestra captivated the jazz world with the fresh sound of Jones’ writing, Lewis’ incredible command of the ensemble and an entirely new approach to the big band genre. The band emphasized a “small group within the big band” concept, allowing its many top-flight jazz soloists to stretch out and play much longer than was previously typical in large ensembles.
Jones and Lewis enjoyed a very fruitful thirteen-year partnership, which produced fifteen albums, a number of world tours and a wealth of compositions that have become standard big band fare, still delighting audiences and challenging even the world’s best jazz musicians to this day.
When Jones unexpectedly moved to Denmark in 1979, Lewis kept the band together, changed its name and became the sole leader. The Mel Lewis Jazz Orchestra continued to perform the music of Thad Jones, but the legendary Bob Brookmeyer was recruited as musical director and his groundbreaking compositions provided an entirely new sonic direction for the band. Several other composers contributed new music to the book (including Bob Mintzer and Jim McNeely) and, under Lewis’ leadership, the band added another nine albums to its credits.
After Lewis passed away in 1990, the band became the Vanguard Jazz Orchestra. With Jim McNeely as its composer in residence since 1995, the VJO has continued to honor the legacy established by Thad Jones and Mel Lewis, but all the while continuing to push the boundaries of the big band idiom.
Over half of the albums (17 out of 32) in the band’s robust discography have been nominated for Grammys, with two of them winning the coveted award. In addition, the orchestra has performed on five continents and has won eleven “Best Big Band” awards in the DownBeat magazine Readers and Critics Polls.
The Vanguard Jazz Orchestra’s regular Monday night gig at the Village Vanguard is the longest-running steady engagement in the history of jazz.
I am excited to share that I am on two Grammy nominated albums this year in the Musical Thrater category.
“Jesus Christ Superstar Live in Concert,”
“Carousel” cast album:
Since my last post I have been busy with concerts and teaching. Here is a rundown of my latest and future projects.
This is my second year at Riverdale County School. Teaching enriches my playing and satisfies my urge to pass along knowledge to the next generation. The faculty/staff at RCC is top notch.
It has been years since I last played with the Birdland Big Band. What a welcome experience it was to join them again recently. The band has evolved over the years. The trombone section was out of sight with Sarah Jacovino on Lead, Ron Wilkins, and James Browski on bass trombone. I hope to be back there again soon.
Since the closure of Carousel, I am back to “subbing” on various musicals. I was back to one of the most enjoyable shows that I sub at, The Lion king.
I played at Birdland for the CD release of Migiwa Miyagima’s Augmented Orchestra. We recorded the CD last year and I am excited for its release. She packed the house at Birdland and the music sounded fantastic. My mom came out to this one so it was special for me. She lives on the “Left Coast,” so I don’t get to see her everyday.
Rufus Reid’s “Quiet Pride” project took me to Iowa City, IA. The music was challenging and the band delivered an exciting performance. I was impressed with he playing of Ryan Keberly and Michael Dease. Monster players and monster band.
Ron Carters Great Big Band performed at Birdland as well. Mr. Carter takes you on a ride when you are playing with him. He will do something you don’t expect. That is why I love playing in his band. What an honor!!
We had a wonderful concert with the John Eckert New York 9 Nonet at St Peters Church, Manhattan, NY. This is where I have been focus some of my writing lately. This band regularly plays my compositions and arrangements. We have been together for several years and the band is really developing a strong personal sound.
Next week I am busy with The Vanguard Jazz Orchestra. First I am taking over the Lead Trombone Position in the band moving forward. Second, we are beginning the New School Residency with an Open Rehearsal on October 29th from 4-6pm, at 55 west 13th St (2nd Floor). The band will be rehearsing various charts from the book, as well as instituting an emerging composer series.
Third, after the open rehearsal, we pack up and head over to the Village Vanguard for our regular set this Monday, October 29th. Sets are at 8:30PM and 10:30PM. Finally on Saturday, November 3rd, the Vanguard Jazz Orchestra Brings Big-Band Swing to Lawrence Memorial Chapel, 510 E. College Avenue, Appleton Wisconsin, 7:30 p.m. – 9 p.m.
Next month I will be recording with the NEA Jazz Master Jimmy Heath as he puts together another big band album, subbing at the Radio City Musical Hall Christmas Spectacular, and eating lots of “healthy” food for the Holidays.
SAT, SEP 22 2018, 11:00AM I will be performing with a brass quintet for the Consecration of the XI Bishop of Newark at:
Newark , NJ 07102
The Rev. Carlye J. Hughes will be ordained and consecrated a Bishop in the one, holy, catholic, and apostolic Church and Eleventh Bishop of The Episcopal Diocese of Newark on Saturday, September 22, 2018 at 11 AM at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center (NJPAC).
Presiding Bishop Michael B. Curry will be the Chief Consecrator. The Rev. Brenda Husson, Rector of St. James’ Church in Manhattan, will preach.
Light refreshments will follow the service.
All are invited to attend, and while there is no admission charge, NJPAC requires thateach attendee seated in the auditorium must have a ticket.
Note for consecration, clergy and other and procession participants
A separate registration link has been sent to you. Please use the link sent to you (NOT the link below) so that we can send you the appropriate ticket.
Note for choir
Separate arrangements are being made for participants in the combined choir.
Note for all other attendees
Please register for your open-seating tickets TODAY! The online registration form (click here) will remain open through Wednesday, September 12. Tickets will be allotted on a first-come, first-served basis as seats remain.
To accommodate NJPAC’s seating preparations, wheelchair patrons with one companion seat have separate registration fields on the same online form.
While individuals may order tickets using the link above, to facilitate the ticketing process, we are asking congregations and diocesan organizations to register attendees as a group using the same link. To avoid issuing duplicate tickets, the registration form requires each individual’s name.
Tickets can be picked up at the Farewell Luncheon for Bishop Beckwith on September 8; remaining tickets will be mailed the week of September 10. You may pick up (and sign for) someone else’s tickets.
Event day information
While there are several parking lots convenient to NJPAC, on the day of the event, we encourage you to car pool. Parking at Episcopal House is reserved for bishops and the Presiding Bishop’s office. Doors open at 9:45 AM; all guests not assigned to processions or to seats on the stage are requested to be in their seats by 10:30 AM for the music and procession.
The Scott Reeves Jazz Orchestra celebrates the release of their 2nd CD, “Without a Trace,” at Dizzy’s Club Coca Cola on Monday, Sept. 3 (sets at 7:30 & 9:30). Scott’s arrangements and compositions for “Without a Trace,” along with the 2016 release, “Portraits and Places,” span 18 years and embody a life’s work. Check out this profile of the band in the August issue of “Downbeat.”
Rosena Hill Jackson is playing the role of Nettie Fowler at Carousel on Broadway for the matinee today. I am so excited to hear my wonderful wife sing.
“Bad Bones” at the second day of Michel Camilo’s Big Band recording session. Steve Davis, Michael Dease, Jason Jackson, and Dave Taylor.
Michel Camilo is recording his next Latin Jazz Big Band album. I am having a blast grooving with this all-star line-up.
Tonight I am performing with the Grammy Award winning Vanguard Jazz Orchestra at the Village Vanguard Jazz Club in New York City. Sets are at 8:30pm and 10:30pm.
Tonight I am excited to be performing with one of my early influences in music, Tom Scott. We are doing a live recording at NYU.
Since 2008, Flushing Town Hall’s QueensJazz Orchestra, under the direction of NEA Jazz Master Dr. Jimmy Heath, has performed to thousands of jazz lovers, honoring music made popular by jazz icons who called Queens their home, featuring established jazz heroes and the next generation of greats.
This special 10th anniversary celebration on Friday, June 29 at Flushing Town Hall will honor Jimmy Heath and his life’s journey through jazz. Tickets and more at http://bit.ly/QJO2018
Juneteenth is a festival held annually on the nineteenth of June by African Americans (especially in the southern states), to commemorate emancipation from slavery in Texas on that day in 1865.
I am honored to be performing with the great Johnny Mathis tonight at the Theater at Westbury in Westbury NY. Mathis is an octogenarian that has kept his silky smooth voice.
My wife Rosena Hill Jackson stepped in for Renee Fleming tonight in the role of Nettie at the Broadway production of Carousel in the middle of the second act. The audience gave her a big cheer and loud applause after her performance of “You’ll Never Walk Alone.” I am so proud of her. As a member of the Carousel orchestra, I was so moved that tears began to well up in my eyes as I heard Rosena sing. Everyone in the orchestra was blown away by Rosena’s singing. They all congratulated me. Thank you Rosena!!