BoMuse News, vol. 17, no. 1
BoMuse News is a monthly newsletter from BoMuse Music. It presents items of interest related to jazz, and advocacy for music education, as well as news of releases from BoMuse Music and the performing activities of Paul Combs. Questions and comments should be sent by visiting “Contact” at Paul Combs’ Web-site.
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1.Visit from Lenore Raphael
2. Visit to Phoenix-The Nash
3. Visit to the Nash-Driftwood Quintet
4. Unknown Dameron CD Progress
1. Last year the SoCal Jazz Society and I had the opportunity to host pianist Lenore Raphael in a master class as part of her West Coast tour. Lenore and I knew of each other as “lurkers” on the Jazz Programmers Listing news-group. Upon meeting we struck up a true friendship, and even though the SoCal JS has had to close up shop, I was able to introduce her to Holly Hofmann who hosts the Jazz Happy Hour at the Handlery Hotel. Lenore is on another West Coast tour, and this Friday, January 5, she will be playing the Jazz Happy Hour in the company of bassist Rob Thorsen, and drummer Duncan Moore. With three musicians of this caliber it should be a terrific concert. If you are in San Diego, I hope you can make it. 5:30 to 7:30 in the 950 Lounge of the Handlery Hotel, 950 Hotel Circle North, San Diego, CA (Mission Valley).
2. In December and old friend from Massachusetts comes to Phoenix, AZ and is able to invite me to visit him at the home of one of his sisters. This has given me a chance to become acquainted with The Nash, a non-profit jazz venue and educational center named for the superb drummer Louis Nash, who is a native of Phoenix. On this trip I had the opportunity to enjoy two concerts, and take part in a jam session. The concert was a tribute to Mongo Santamaria, and the players, Paul Brewer-saxophone/flute, Ioannis Goudelis-piano, Bob Lashier-bass, Dom Moio-drums, Joe Garcia-percussion, were excellent. A reminder that, as some wise person said, “all jazz is local.” While there are stars who emerge, and iconic musicians who we honor, the music grows from community, and there are excellent players in communities all over the country and beyond. I also heard some fine players at the jam session, and enjoyed playing with the excellent host trio of Jeff Libman-guitar/bandleader, Vincent Thiefain-bass, Sam Russo-drums.
We also visited the fascinating Musical Instrument Museum, which I’ll write about in the next issue.
3. It was really wonderful to listen to some of the impressive young musicians active in the Phoenix area. On the Sunday afternoon before Christmas there was a concert at The Nash featuring a relatively new type of chamber music ensemble, a wind quintet. Back when I was working on my masters in performance at U. Mass. Lowell, I played in a wind quartet of oboe, clarinet, alto sax, and bassoon. At the time I was able to find fourteen pieces for this particular instrumentation, so we know that it is an established ensemble configuration. I have to say this because there are other configurations of wind quartets. My understanding that a quintet has been established by adding a bass clarinet to the ensemble, and this grouping dates back some thirty-five years.
The ensemble playing that afternoon was the Driftwood Quintet, excellent players who appeared all to be in their twenties. Their first set consisted of pieces written by or in reference to African-American composers, including a reorchestration of the first movement of William Grant Still’s First Symphony. For the second set they were joined by piano, bass, and drums for their own reorhestration of the Ellington/Strayhorn version of Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker Suite. It was an absolute delight. It lifted my heart, not only for the beauty and vitality of the performance, but to hear these young players doing something fresh and exciting, while honoring an established work. I think these will be some folks to look for in the future.
The Driftwood Quintet is Olivia Erwin, oboe; Melissa Malork, clarinet; Dan Meadows, saxes; Ben Paley bassoon; and Dominique Holley, bass clarinet. For the Nutcracker Suite they were joined by David Paonessa, piano; Max Beckman, bass, and Matt McClintock, drums.
4. We are half way through recording the Unknown Dameron CD. Richard Sellers, who is not only a master drummer, but an excellent mix engineer, just sent me the mixed tracks from our October 30, recording session. Ahead will be a session in the San Francisco area with my friends Danielle Wertz, and Ken Cook, and one more with the quintet I have assemble here in San Diego. I am busy writing the arrangements for those, and working hard to stay on schedule with the goal or a release in the fall.
I continue playing with Dene Davidson on Wednesday afternoons in Carlsbad, and Fred Hardy on Thursday evenings in Pacific Beach and you can see the times and locations here, as well as anything else that comes up.
I am pleased to say that the weekly jazz performances I initiated at the Chit Chat Lounge in Haverhill, MA continue to this day. You can find out who is playing by following their Facebook page.
If you are in Boston check the listings at Jazz Boston. In San Diego visit the Calendar section at Jazz88.3.
As always, thank you for supporting LIVE MUSIC!