Tuesday, June 26, 2007

A belated concert report...

I've been so tied up with work/gigs/Punky these past couple of weeks that I never got around to reporting on the June 3rd concert out at Glendale College. So, without further ado... the show was a blast! For starters, the band performed my very first big-band vocal arrangement, an Afro-Cuban (well, sort of, anyway) interpretation of Henry Mancini's "Charade." Diane Wallace did a great job of singing it down, and while the chart certainly has room for improvement, I'm proud of this first effort and looking forward to doing more writing.

The second half of the concert featured our guest artist, Roger Neumann. One of the veteran studio reedmen here in L.A., Roger has not only played with damn near everyone--he's written music for them all, too. His own band, the Roger Neumann Rather Large Band, is one of those bands that it seems everybody who is anybody has played in (check out his CD on Sea Breeze Records here) ...and on top of all this, he's an unbelievably cool guy.

Whenever we do one of these shows, we typically get the charts a week or two in advance of the concerts. We read them down, play through them with the soloist in our dress rehearsal, and then perform them later in the week. One of Roger's charts was a cool arrangement of Gerry Mulligan's "Cat Walk" that featured tenor and baritone saxes, and At the soundcheckalthough *I* was digging it a whole lot, the show was threatening to go a little long and it seemed like that was the tune that would end up getting the axe. Nevertheless, we ran it at the dress rehearsal with both Roger and I on baritone, and Craig Kupka, the group's director, wanted to keep it in the show. That kinda put me on the hook to work up the changes, so I took them into my lesson and spent some time with them at home later that week. Of course this was right in the middle of finals-week-paper-grading-hell, but come Sunday I felt reasonably prepared, so I poured on the attitude and what do you know...? It actually worked.

Anyhow, a recording of that performance is here in mp3 format. We play the melody with Roger on the top line and me harmonizing below him. I take the first solo chorus, he takes the second (and I gotta cop a couple of his licks... they were great), and then we trade fours/twos on the third chorus with me leading off. Was it flawless? Hell no. But for the first time, I'm actually seeing progress in my playing... like, maybe the work is paying off. Yay me! By the way, the other soloists are (in order): Kendall Wallace, trumpet; Harry Smallenburg, trombone; Richard Tuttobene, piano.

Meanwhile, here's a few upcoming gigs:

Sunday, July 3rd
First Christian Chuch
221 S. 6th St., Burbank
(This is my first solo flute gig, and I'm accompanying the choir)

Tuesday, July 3rd
Big Bad Jazz Band at the M-Bar Hollywood
Corner of Vine and Fountain, 7:30pm
(I'll be playing bari sax)

Wednesday, July 4th
Multiple locations, TBA when I figure out where I'm supposed to be...

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