Morton Gould

In a recently viewed YouTube video of Bob Brookmeyer rehearsing his new music for the most recent Vanguard Jazz Orchestra cd (obviously his last recording), Bob mentions that he is a fan of Morton Gould. I have been checking out: Morton Gould: Orchestral Music recorded by the Albany Symphony. Terrific music and I definitely see the relationship with Bob’s approach to orchestration and structure.

Giant Steps by John Coltrane

You know, it happened a long time ago (released in 1960 on Atlantic Records, catalogue SD 1311) but ‘Giant Steps” for all its rave reviews, critical reviews, detractors, supporters, worshippers, for all the tenor saxophonists who have practiced the first take solo to death, for all the reviews… is a momentus, gigantic recording that has a very narrow but Mile High seat of importance in the history of our music. Unique. Flawless. Impressive. Mind boggling, (add your own adjectives). SO LISTEN TO IT ONCE IN A WHILE, as though you’ve never heard it before. Imagine it recorded last week. IT STILL AMAZES. Trane…we love you!

Grammy’s 2013 (14)

I want to encourage anyone reading this message to check out the cd by Chuck Owen and the Jazz Surge (plus orchestra) recording, “River Runs: A Concerto for Jazz Guitar, Saxophone and Orchestra”. Now this is a master composer, orchestrator, arranger who sees the possibilities in writing for jazz soloists, orchestra and big band all together. I LOVE this recording and hope that it wins both Grammy’s it is nominated for. They nominations are not in the jazz category (but should be). Instead, they appear in the Instrumental categories – which is, of course, perfectly correct. Treat yourself to one of the great accomplishments of bringing together – successfully – all the possibilities of the large orchestra and the groove of small group jazz.

Baseball again

I say baseball again, because on my older site (now gone to the special place in techno heaven where these things go) I talked about baseball from time to time. I am an absolute nut about professional baseball and while my closest allegiances go to the Toronto Blue Jays (guess where I live), I also like the Red Sox, the (dreaded) New York Yankees, Cincinnati Reds, Texas Rangers, and host of other teams. I just love the game played well and wished that the Blue Jays could provide that night after night….not so.

I am reading “Wherever I Wind Up” by now Blue Jays vaunted knuckleballer, R.A. (Robert Allen) Dickey. The book is extraordinary and I am glad to add to my collection of superior baseball books: “Ball Four”, “The Long Season” (my all time favourite- by Jim Brosnan) et al. And while I mention it, I must encourage any of you baseball nuts to read this classic. I bought it first, when paperbacks were 0.25 cents. I’ve replaced that copy with a lovely twenty year old paperback that is, at this writing, in pristine condition. Back to the Dickey book: it is an amazingly detailed book with no attempt to sugercoat what was a difficult childhood. I love that Dickey and David Price faced each other night (Cy Young winners in the same year).

As much as I love baseball today, and the modern game, I also read many older books, which allow you to savour the traditions and the myths of earlier times.

All for now.



The recent newsletter I sent out indicated that Trish Colter (v), Chase Sanborn (trpt), Pat Collins (bass) and I (piano) performed at the Home Smith Bar (Old Mill) in Toronto on October 4. For some reason I forgot to post it to this Blog. Website activity should be a regular activity, but I haven’t got that through my thick skull yet.

Anyway….It was a fun night. So there you go.

I have agreed to write an accessible (easy-reader, as my late friend Frank Mantooth used to call it) jazz band arrangement for the Coalition for Music Education in Canada. This will be the fourth year I have have been invited to participate in this and there are many reasons for doing so. First and foremost of course I want to support the Coalition’s efforts. I have been a part of music education in one capacity or another for 42 years and have seen first hand the joy that music brings into the lives of young people.

But a reason nearly as compelling for me is that this presents a significant challenge from an arranging point of view. Writing an easy-reader is a daunting task. It’s okay to make it easy. And it isn’t a problem throwing in interesting stuff. But to make the two happen at the same time is challenging indeed.

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