One year with the Airmen of Note
August 26, 2009
Well I have finished a year with the Airmen of Note. It has been a fun year highlighted by recording a X-Mas CD (My 2nd of the year), touring the Southwest, and Midwest and marching for the Inauguration of our 44th President: Barack Obama. As I have settled into this new gig I am also doing some side projects. See my Press page for a nice review of performing with the Milford Graves Quartet at the Vision Festival in June. I am looking ahead at booking some more gigs leading groups in NY-Philly-DC area so stay tuned.
Tony Benett with the Count Basie Orchestra
September 5, 2008
Bennett's 'A Swingin' Christmas' is set for a October 14, 2008 US release date. This should be a great CD as it was fun to be a part of. Jack Bess wrote "This fall will see the release of a new album, his 107th, called "Tony Bennett: A Swingin' Christmas," which he recorded with the Count Basie Big Band. In partnership with Bloomingdales, the album's sponsor, Bennett painted a scene for a special shopping bag. As for the music, it's cheerful, secular holiday songs sung to the inimitable Basie swing beat." Pre-order now at http://music.barnesandnoble.com/A-Swingin-Christmas/Tony-Bennett/e/886973225028/
Air Force Training...
August 2, 2008
Just a quick note for those of you who wondered why this site has been stagnant for the past 7 weeks. I just finished my 6 1/2 week Basic Training to qualify to join the Air Force. More on this later but I am back in NY preparing to move to DC to join the Airmen of Note. Big SHOUT to my wingmen in 323 SQ/FLT 491!
June 8, 2008
In the BIG news department...I played my last gig with the World Famous Count Basie Orchestra June 6th in Toronto. The 3+ years have gone by so fast but I have had so many great experiences. Just wanted to thank all of the guys that make up the 'Swingingest Band in the Land!' Also the great fans that come out literally all over the world. And especially to their leader Mr. Bill Hughes who gave me a shot to play with that legendary band.
I am leaving to accept the 2nd Tenor Chair in the Airmen of Note which is the Premier Jazz Band of the Air Force. My wife and I are excited for the new position and relocating to the DC area. I will play my first gigs in late Aug/Sept. For more info and to listen to this band go to: http://www.usafband.af.mil/
Jamie Cullum CD project
June 8, 2008
The Basie Band also accompanied British jazz vocalist Jamie Cullum for two tracks on his upcoming Concord Records release. The arrangements were done by the great Frank Foster and it should be nice. Information on this artist and his CD release date go to http://www.jamiecullum.com/
Tony Bennett Christmas CD
June 8, 2008
The Basie band just finished a great project with Tony Bennett. It will be a Holiday CD titled "A Swingin' Christmas". This was recorded at the Bergen PAC Theatre in Englewood, NJ. It was a great 3 days with Conductor/Arranger Bill Holman. Information on its release date can be found at: http://www.tonybennett.net/
Listen to NPR's Broadcast of Count Basie Orchestra featuring Ledisi
January 7, 2008
The world famous Count Basie Orchestra featuring 2008 grammy-nominated artist Ledisi's New Year's Eve concert was Broadcast all over the nation on NPR. This was a live performance at San Francisco's Yoshi's Jazz Club. It is available to stream anytime you like on NPR's website. It was a sold-out concert which has received rave reviews. I was excited to be a part of it. You can click this link to hear it: http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=17794048
(PS: If you are listening for my solo it is on the song "Just Friends".) Please listen and tell your friends while it is available online.
Joining the P. Mauriat Family
November 22, 2007
I have recently joined the P. Mauriat Family. I have been impressed with the fullness and clarity of the rolled-tone alto. More on this later...
Basie Band wins Downbeat Readers Poll
November 1, 2007
The Count Basie Orchestra won the 2007 Downbeat Readers Poll for Best Big Band. Thanks to all those who continue to support this great band. We continue to be able to tour extensively solely because of old and new fans.
Basie is Back CD released by Concord Jazz Label
May 24, 2007
This recording made in 2005 was originally a Japanese Import but has been picked up by Concord Jazz and is available worldwide. It has jumped into the jazz top 25 in national radioplay rankings. It is a live recording and is available at all online stores. See my merchandise page for a link.
Recording information: Denryoku Hall, Sendai, Japan (10/2005).
Though legendary bandleader Bill "Count" Basie passed away in 1984, his musical legacy remains powerful. This 2005 edition of the Basie big band, led by perennial trombonist Bill Hughes, was recorded in concert in Sendai, Japan. The orchestra does a fine job of projecting the jovial, immediate, and exuberant swing of Basie, both in the 1930s swing-era ideal and the Count's '50s renaissance. BASIE IS BACK features not only Basie classics but also a smattering of Duke Ellington hits as a bonus. (Jack Bowers/AAJ)
Track listing: Corner Pocket; Discommotion; Blues in Hoss’ Flat; Segue in “C”: Basie Power; We’re in Love Again; In a Mellow Tone; Body and Soul; Lover Come Back to Me; Whirly-Bird; Jumpin’ at the Woodside; One O’Clock Jump; April in Paris (60:25).
Personnel: Bill Hughes: leader, trombone; Scotty Barnhart, Michael Williams, Shawn Edmonds, Endre Rice: trumpet; Marshall McDonald, Grant Langford: alto sax; Doug Miller, Doug Lawrence: tenor sax; John Williams: baritone sax; Clarence Banks, Alvin Walker, David Keim, Barry Cooper: trombone; Tony Suggs: piano; Will Matthews: guitar; James Leary: bass; Butch Miles: drums; Melba Joyce: vocals.
Hilary Smith Recording
February 23, 2007
Last week I did a recording session for a great vocalist out of Albuquerque, NM--Hillary Smith. This session included new arrangements to some R&B classics and was produced by fellow bandmate Doug Lawrence. It was highlighted by recording with the great Clyde Stubblefield who if you didn't know provided the beat for countless James Brown concerts and recordings. You can check out more on Hillary at her website: http://hilljam.com/
More info on the release will follow.
My Top Jazz Record Stores Worldwide
February 9, 2007
New Orleans Musicians Hurricane Relief Fund
February 9, 2007
This is a very worthy and important charity. Many New Orleans musicians are still without permanent housing. "NOMHRF’s mission is twofold: to provide humanitarian outreach to New Orleans musicians affected by Hurricane Katrina and to revive New Orleans’ unique musical culture. By returning displaced musicians to New Orleans, creating gigs in the city, and replacing flood-damaged instruments, NOMHRF empowers musicians to earn a living and heal our community with music. " (courtesy of their website)
You heard it here first!
January 21, 2007
Nnenna Freelon and
The World Famous Count Basie Orchestra
Freelon pays tribute to the two men who first brought her to jazz - her father, through the music of the second man, Count Basie.
New music, new arrangements and a new recording!
The World Famous Count Basie Orchestra teams with multi-Grammy™ nominated vocalist Nnenna Freelon for their first-ever recording! They collaborated to celebrate the 100th Anniversary of Count Basie’s birth and then 75 years of The World Famous Count Basie Orchestra. Now Great Jazz Masters Frank Foster (reuniting the Basie Orchestra and its former leader), Slide Hampton, Jimmy Heath, Hank Jones, and more will arrange this stellar pairing along with long time Basie member Dennis Wilson, who conceived this concept. Freelon takes on great songs of the American Songbook that have their own unique history with Count Basie and Nnenna Freelon. Freelon tips her hat to the fantastic vocalists who have performed with the orchestra, including Ella Fitzgerald and Sarah Vaughan, and adds to the scintillating Basie sounds in the new material designed and arranged for her unique stylings.
About the Artists:
Singer, composer, producer, and arranger, Concord Records artist Nnenna Freelon, has earned numerous awards including the Billie Holiday Award, Eubie Blake Award and 6 Grammy Award nominations, as well as accolades for her work on behalf of children and education.
The present-day Count Basie Orchestra is led by long-time trombonist and Basie alum, Bill Hughes, with Butch Miles driving the rhythm section as drummer. Multi-generational musical genius, sensitive melodic renderings, and powerhouse swing – this and so much more is the legacy of William James Basie!
Pending Release 2007: Freelon & The Count Basie Orchestra
Top 5 youtube.com jazz clips
January 19, 2007
January 17, 2007
I recently had someone try and scam me on ebay and thought I would write it in the hopes that someone won't fall for this. An Ebay auction for a Mark VI Tenor Sax was closed. Then I was contacted by the seller that he had to close the auction but would still sell the saxophone. He wanted to use the service Moneybookers.com which is a legitimate service. He explained how he would initiate the account and then Moneybookers would send me an email. Here is where he got tricky. He sent a formulated email that looked like a moneybookers generated email except this directed me to deposit money in an account. Although I wasn't fooled by this email the fact that I took so long to figure it out means it may happen to someone else. Things I learned
1. He changed his addresses.
2. He was selling saxophone at much lower than value.
3. His email directed me to fax account info.
Hope this doesn't happen to anyone. This is what the auction looked like on ebay: http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=230075923219
New Ray Charles/Count Basie Orchestra CD coming soon.
September 4, 2006
By Associated Press
Ray Charles never performed with the late Count Basie when the two music legends were alive, but now they are being united in death.
Concord Records and Starbucks Hear Music said Wednesday they will release a disc this fall that combines vocals recorded by Charles during a concert in the mid-1970s with new music made by today's Count Basie Orchestra.
Among the dozen cuts on ''Ray Sings, Basie Swings'' are ''Busted,'' ''I Can't Stop Loving You,'' ''The Long and Winding Road'' and ''Georgia on My Mind.''
The last project Charles recorded before his death on June 10, 2004 was the duets album ''Genius Loves Company,'' which earned eight Grammy Awards. It sold more than six million copies worldwide, making it the biggest-seller of his career.
While looking through a record company vault in late 2005, one of the ''Genius Loves Company'' producers came up with tapes marked ''Ray/Basie.'' The producer, John Burk, thought he'd found something to rewrite history. While the acts had shared concert bills, it was believed they had never performed together.
The tapes turned out to contain a copy of Charles singing accompanied by his own orchestra, although the music was recorded so poorly it could barely be heard. Burk had the idea of pairing the vocal recordings with new instrumental backing.
Charles' team isn't even sure where or when the recordings were made, guessing it was sometime in the mid-1970s based on the repertoire.
Gregg Field, a drummer who toured and recorded with both Charles' and Basie's bands before Basie died in 1984, was brought in to build the new disc with computer editing. Field had to match Charles' singing to the new band's performance, often stretching or compacting the space between words in order to fit the tempo.
''It was like painting the Sistine Chapel with a Q-tip,'' Field said.
Singer Patti Austin brought together and sang with a new group of Raelettes.
Joe Adams, Charles' longtime manager who had worked with him for 49 years, said it was probably a timing issue that kept Charles and Basie apart despite their mutual respect.
''Ray was a stickler for rhythm and said Basie always called the exact right rhythm for every song and he never overplayed,'' Adams said.
Since the musical marriage of Natalie Cole with her late father Nat King Cole on ''Unforgettable,'' technology has advanced to the point of making almost anything possible. Mashups, which marry artists and songs in odd combinations, have become an underground art form.
Adams said he will protect Charles' legacy but he doesn't know if the future holds any more such projects.
''This is the best use of technology, when we can bring an amazing Ray Charles performance — one of the best he ever had — and build a musical form around it,'' Field said. ''You would hope that the people charged with the custody of master recordings would respect the way they should be used.''
The disc will be released Oct. 3 at traditional retailers and at Starbucks stores, where more than 800,000 copies of ''Genius Loves Company'' have been sold.
Copyright 2006 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
Salute to pianist Kent Glenn
June 9, 2006
Just wanted to pay tribute to a good friend who passed away April 3. 2004. Jazz pianist, composer and popular West Coast club performer, who has accompanied numerous jazz performers in both concert and recording, including such artists as Herb Geller, Sonny Stitt and King Pleasure, and who recorded two albums of his own, "Good For The Garden" and "Lawn Party", died April 3 of heart failure in Hoboken, New Jersey at the age of 61.
On a personal note he was very inspiring and encouaging of my talent. From our almost daily phone calls to meeting up in the city to jam. I was fortunate to play on his last tour in Northern California in Fall 2003. For those who want more info visit this website: www.attictoys.com/jazz/KG_intro.html
March 22, 2006
I have gotten a few emails regarding my sax equipment. On Tenor I play a 214xxx model Selmer Mark VI and a 80's Metal Otto Link 8*. I have played that set up for several years now. Grand Concourse/Rico Jazz Reeds.
On Alto I am now playing a Keilwerth Nickel Silver SX90R horn whick I love. Until a couple months ago I was playing a late model Buescher 400. I go back between a vintage USA meyer (7) modified, and a vintage Berg Larson (tip opening 120) Mike Manning custom reeds.
On Soprano sax I have a Yamaha YS-61 and a Bari Mouthpiece
My Flute is a sterling silver Armstrong.
On Clarinet I play a Selmer BT clarinet circa 1940 with a Vandoren B45 mouthpiece.
The message here is nothing is consistant and its an evolving process but don't be afraid to just stick with a setup for a while and work with it instead of constantly changing. I also don't believe in changing for the situation. Find a setup that you can play loud, soft, dark, bright and everything in between.
February 24, 2006
I am going on a full year of touring with the Count Basie Orchestra. My first recording with the band will be released June 21 2006 on Sony/Japan. This will be entitled Basie is Back-Live in Japan.
I also have a CD project in the works with fellow CBO members Tony Suggs, Barry Cooper, and Shawn Edmonds. This band is called Black Lineage and the CD will be out Spring 2006 on Red Bank Records. We are about to leave for a 6 week tour criss-crossing the US and then heading for two weeks in Europe.