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Performance and Pedagogy Blog

A blog about the performance and pedagogy of music.

Filtering by Tag: big band

US Army All-Brass Big Band - A Stan Kenton Christmas: Monday YouTube Fix

Andrew Hitz

Okay this is awesome.  One of the best big bands in the world, minus their saxophones and with some mellophones thrown in for good measure, playing some of the finest charts ever written.  Here is the Stan Kenton Christmas carols arranged by Hoagy Carmichael.

A note on the instrument in the front row: they are mellophones.  The leader pretty much sums them up perfectly when he said, "The mellophone is an instrument of mostly indefinite pitch."


Monday YouTube Fix: The Lawrence Welk Show Trombone Section

Andrew Hitz

After a brief hiatus for the summer the Monday YouTube Fix is open again for business! I thought we would start light with a little Lassus Trombone from the Lawrence Welk Show. Some of my earliest memories are from watching the Lawrence Welk Show in syndication which ran until 1982.  I loved watching the band play.  This tune features the outstanding trombone section: Norman Bailey, Barney Liddell and Pete Lofthouse in 1956.

You gotta love the slide vibrato! Enjoy!

Doc Severinsen: Monday YouTube Fix

Andrew Hitz

On Friday night I had the privilege of hearing Doc Severinsen solo with the incredible Alan Baylock Jazz Orchestra. It was one of the best concerts I've ever seen.  The writing, the ensemble, the communication and DOC SEVERINSEN! This guy is 85 years old.  That is not a typo, 85 years old, and is still playing his tail off.  I was accompanied by Joe Alessi to the concert and beforehand Joe said "Doc might be the greatest brass player of all time." If you know Joe, you know that he doesn't throw superlatives like that around too often.  He said no qualifiers and there was no context.  He is simply one of the greatest brass players of all time.

I wish I could tell you that Doc sounded good "for an 85 year old." He sounded good, end of sentence.  I'm not sure I've heard anyone be able to get more tone, more substance, on fast, passing 16th notes than he did a few nights ago.  It was truly incredible to witness.

After the concert Joe got us backstage and I got to hear the two of them reminisce and tell stories for about 15 minutes.  It was amazing.  The last thing I said to Doc before we split was "Every single phrase you play is #@$%ing master class.  It's truly incredible." I hope he knows I was serious.

This is Doc playing on the Jack Jones Show in 1977.  First is MacArthur Park followed by I Can't Get Started.  It will take your breath away.


Monday YouTube Fix: Ken Aoki (banjo)

Andrew Hitz

My good buddy Wes Funderburk brought this clip to my attention last week on tour with Boston Brass.  I can't say I've ever heard a solo banjo with big band clip before but I was blown away.  This guys groove, phrasing and articulation are simply stunning. And there is simply no possible way to fake a smile like that one.  Not possible.