December 6 This evening, our resident film buff Frank Slabinak presented Jazz on Film 2, a sequel to his previous Jazz on Film video presentation that went down so well earlier in the year. Among the rare film footage that featured jazz content were the seasonal Winter Wonderland with Tony Pastor and the Dinning Sisters, a wonderful 1937 Popeye cartoon Let's Celebrate, a clip of Alvino Ray with the King Sisters, one of Will Osborne and his Orchestra with the Ryan Sisters, and some great early Count Basie.
November 29 This evening we welcomed back the New Standard Quartet. The band played for us last year and were a terrific success. The quartet features Ken Partyka (saxophones), Tom Vaitsas, (keyboards), Pat Fleming (guitar), and Rick Vitek (drums). As on their previous appearance, the Cottage was packed to the rafters, with a capacity full-house crowd.
The band started the evening off with some bebop in the shape of Tadd Dameron's Ladybird. Next up was Irving Berlin's Blue Skies which had some nice keyboard work from Tom and a fine saxophone solo by Ken. Momentos is a tune that is seldom heard in the Cottage, but the band's interpretation was excellent, as was a ballad medley dedicated to the great Billie Holliday. The quartet's next offering was rather more contemporary - a wonderful version of Pat Metheny's Better Days Ahead, with excellent solos from the whole band. As a precurser to the forthcoming festive season, the quartet gave a sterling rendition of Vince Guaraldi's O Tannenbaum, which was composed for a classic Charlie Brown Christmas cartoon. The tune featured some great guitar by Pat, and fine solos by Tom and Ken. The standard My Favorite Things and a funky Cissy Strut, a composition by The Meters closed out the first set.
The second part of the evening's entertainment commenced with another standard Softly as in a Morning Sunrise which again showcased Ken's sax. Joe Zawinul's Mercy, Mercy, Mercy led into a rousing version of Dizzy Gillespie's Latin jazz masterpiece Manteca which featured a wonderful drum solo by Rick. Another Billie Holliday ballad medley of Lover Man and God Bless the Child, lead into Cannonball Adderley's Barefoot Sunday Blues, which had great solos all around. The penultimate offering of the evening was an extremely funky Caravan that brought us to the New Standard Quartet's closing (and very appropriate) version of Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas. Check out the photographs here.
November 22 Thanksgiving - No meeting.
November 15 Tonight was a "Free and Easy Night." Members brought along music from their own collections to play and discuss.
November 8 This evening's presentation was "The Arranger's Touch." Society President Ian Tiele's topic took a look at the different sounds and styles that jazz arrangers achieve. The same tune, played by the same band, but arranged by another arranger can sound totally different. We listened to several arrangers that worked with the Stan Kenton Orchestra, including Pete Rugalo, Johnny Richards, Bill Russo and Gene Roland. We also heard tracks arranged by Shorty Rogers, Dizzy Gillespie, Fletcher Henderson, and Don Redman. The arranging of Gil Evans closed out the evening, with some great jazz, including Donna Lee, King Porter Stomp, Chant of the Weed, and La Nevada.