Saturday, May 14, 2005

Vanugard Jazz Orchestra celebrates 40 years

From the New York Times...
By Ben Ratliff

The 40 years that the Vanguard Jazz Orchestra celebrates at the Village Vanguard this week do not exactly form an unbroken line. The band's founders, Thad Jones and Mel Lewis, are long deceased. But a few key members are late-period Thad-and-Mel disciples, and it is striking how seriously the current iteration of the band takes the task of prolonging its original music and raison d'ĂȘtre, how elegantly it carries that historical burden and how well it performs its job.

The orchestra seems easygoing. This is not a group that wants to teach you big-band genealogy or create cross-discipline works. Like the club it plays in, it keeps plugging away with the old formula, unpretentiously and extremely well.

The Vanguard Jazz Orchestra is usually the Vanguard's Monday-night band, but this week it plays every night, through Sunday, to celebrate its founding, in 1965. Wednesday night's sets featured compositions by Bob Brookmeyer, who was a trombonist and arranger with the band at its genesis and later, in the late 1980's, supplied it with ambitious new compositions. Tom Harrell, the trumpeter and fluegelhornist, was the evening's guest soloist.

Read the complete article...


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