I liked last night's performance, but the longer you get to know me, there's always a "but". I was disappointed in some of the song selections. There was one song from a recording of twenty years ago. If your latest release "SIMPATICO (Artist Share) has won you a Grammy, I can't understand why you don't promote that music by playing a ton of cuts from that release.
Eddie who will be 71 this coming December confirms the theory that piano and fiddle players live a long and fruitful live. He still has the chops and is a gracious host on stage. As a fan of Latin music, I am familiar with many of the recordings that Conrad Herwig has been involved in. His musical feet are firmly planted in both the straight head world and in the Latin world. I was disappointed with his technique. It was almost like he was saying, "Oh, you liked that trick, just wait until my next solo and I'll show you another one". Nearing his 48th year and a recognized trombone player with big musical testicles, he doesn't need to do this. I also had a problem with Orlando Vega's cow bell. You could hear it next to Big Ben in London.
Grade: Concert as a whole= B. Sound Engineer= F. In the middle of the second song, I inserted my ear plugs. You can laugh if you want to, but a wise performing musician told me many, many, many years ago, "Take care of your ears". That's why, I can still do radio at my advanced age.
VERMONT ALL STATE JAZZ ENSEMBLE: I have stated it many times publicly and I will repeat that here. The best thing that has come out of the Flynn's Educational Program and BDJF has been the reaching out to young people. How many of them will move on and become professional musicians doesn't matter. These young people will eventually take our place and will be going to concerts for the rest of their lives and quite possible influencing the following generation. It's like making fresh sour dough bread. For those who don't understand that analogy research the history of making bread.
I don't know about you, but when I was their age, I was stealing my old man's cigarettes, raiding his liquor cabinet and playing with myself on a daily basis. The nuns at school would say that masturbation would result in blindness. I'm currently wearing tri-focal eye glasses. When I was a high school student and contemplated getting involved with the school band (there was no jazz program in those days), my male friends would cast disparaging remarks about the sexual orientation of the male members of the band. I withdrew my interest. My mistake.
I would like to mention the names of several students whose solos stood out for me. The blond Viking goddess (GRACE GAYLORD) who picked up her baritone sax like a pound bag of coffee and proceeded to show that she had some chops. PAUL BRANA received the largest ovation of the night for his trumpet solo and rightly so. MICHAEL HARDIN, who is a member of this Jazz Mafia Blog, showed that it was no mistake that this is the second consecutive year that he is part of the Vermont All Star Ensemble. Michael, if you read this drek, please respond with your contact information, so that we can catch some of your band's performances this summer before you leave for college in the fall. Michael is enrolling in Columbia University with a concentration in Political Science. I personally don't think he is going to get much homework done, not with the NYC jazz scene.
Kudos to Bruce Sklar, who is in charge of the jazz music program at Harwood High School in Duxbury, VT. His program has produced many members of the "all-star" ensemble over the years. Michael and Paul being two of them.
I invite you to check out these young musicians from different local high schools on their Church Street performances. I'm in it for the long run. It's always interesting to see the improvement every year for these young people and I DO follow their performances for the four years that they're in high school.
An aside to BDJF. I didn't mind that the printed program was upside down in relationship to the cover. I know that Murphy's Law can always be factored in on opening night. I can testify to that from several personal experiences, but please include the names of the schools that the students attend and the director in next year's program. If you're going to promote the performing arts in schools, then let the audience know which schools are walking the walk.