Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Bill Evans' Influence

Reading Peter Pettinger's biography of Bill Evans got me thinking about how much of an influence Bill was on me early on in my musical development.  I listened to Bill, transcribed his solos, and learned his repertoire all through high school and for most of my undergraduate years.  You might say I was obsessed.

Strangely, I haven't listened to those records in a very long while --- probably because most of my Bill Evans collection is on cassette tape or LP.  Maybe its time to bring them out of storage.

It was a nice surprise to see how much video footage there is of Bill on YouTube.  I hope you will enjoy this concert as much as I did.  It's from October, 1966, with Eddie Gomez on bass and Alex Riel on drum set.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

My Man, Thad

To ease myself back into blogging after an exceptionally busy period, I think I'll reinstitute "Wordless Wednesdays", where I post a video that has captured my interest.

Before the advent of YouTube I often wondered about Thad Jones' big band leading.  (I never got to see him live.) Did he conduct in a traditional sense?  Did he conduct from scores or by memory?  Did he stand in front of the band or play within the section?  Was he a stern taskmaster?

Thankfully we now have plenty of video examples to answer these questions and more.  I could watch Thad all day (and have to practice self discipline to refrain from doing so)!  With simple gestures and a big smile on his face, he engages with the musicians and elicits a fun, swinging atmosphere that is sometimes missing from bands today.  He and the band exude joy.

Jazz ensemble directors (myself included) can learn a lot from watching Thad.