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Monday, May 18, 2015

Army's new jazz and All-Stars delight audience

The U.S. Army Blues in concert, Brucker Hall, Fort Myer, VA, May 17, 2015/Photo by Patricia Leslie
 
One of the joys of living in the Washington, D.C. region is the plethora of musical opportunities offered by expert performers, many who play for free for eager and enthusiastic audiences.  So it was on Sunday afternoon at Brucker Hall at Fort Myer, Virginia where about 150 jazz lovers came out to hear non-traditional, original compositions and arrangements by members of the U.S. Army Blues, under the direction of Jeremiah Keillor.  The Army Blues is the premier jazz ensemble of the U.S. Army, an 18-piece ensemble, part of the Army Band "Pershing's Own."
Trumpeters in the Army Blues are Mark A. Wood, Kenneth W. McGee, Graham E. Breedlove, and Kenneth R. Rittenhouse.  According to the concert's leader, Joseph D. Henson, Take Five by Paul Desmond, made famous by the Dave Brubeck Quartet and arranged by Master Sgt. Rittenhouse for Sunday's performance, was "as traditional" as anything heard in the "New Music Concert"/Photo by Patricia Leslie
Trombonists in the group are Matthew F. Niess, Victor Barranco, Harry F. Watters, and Jeffrey J. Cortazzo, and on drums, Steve Fidyk.  On the program were Utopia by Blues' Joseph Henson and Bloodline by Michael Kramer, also a Blues member (below)/Photo by Patricia Leslie

New Army Blues member and guitarist is Michael Kramer who wrote To Herb, Two Herbs as a tribute to "overlooked jazz composer" Herbie Nichols (1919-1963) who died at 44 from leukemia.  Mr. Henson called it "probably the band's most challenging piece" of the day, but it didn't sound like it/Photo by Patricia Leslie
On the sax were Antonio L. Orta, Bill E. Linney, Mr. Henson, and David T. Brown/Photo by Patricia Leslie
A "New Music Concert" at Brucker Hall, Fort Myer, VA, May 17, 2015/Photo by Patricia Leslie
These were the Blues' "Swamp Romp" playing Xavier Perez' Reich Sauce in the Chili. The program said Perez, "a big fan of composer Steve Reich" (b. 1936) put together the piece with a "bluesy, Southern boogaloo"/Photo by Patricia Leslie
Xavier Perez/Photo by Patricia Leslie
A "New Music Concert" at Brucker Hall, Fort Myer, VA, May 17, 2015/Photo by Patricia Leslie
Pianist Daniel A. Roberts composed Link's for his friend, Lyle Link, an area alto saxophonist.  Bass player Regan Brough arranged The Lover's Celebration by Memphis' James Williams (1951-2004) as a solo piano piece.  It featured a no-conflict relationship in a light, delightful, and soothing style/Photo by Patricia Leslie
An incredible show by the National Jazz Workshop All-Star Jazz Orchestra under the direction of Alan Baylock and produced by Matt Niess, preceded the Blues' performance. The website says the All-Star Jazz Orchestra is "an audition based ensemble open to music students aged 15-22 in the Washington, DC area. The mission of NJW is to offer the highest level of instruction to young jazz musicians while promoting America's Art form, jazz. NJW employs educators and artists dedicated to helping students reach their potential as musicians and individuals"/Photo by Patricia Leslie
Jaquan Andrews is the trombone soloist (left on second row) from the National Jazz All-Stars, playing Cold Duck Time.  Other All-Star trombonists are Aidan Farley, Jack Grimm, Zachary Niess, Noah Flanigan, and Francis Baylock/Photo by Patricia Leslie
Pianist Daniel A. Roberts got double billing, playing for the Army Blues and subbing for the All-Star Jazz Orchestra/Photo by Patricia Leslie
Garrett Mader and Jan Knutson are All-Star guitarists/Photo by Patricia Leslie
Sax All-Stars are Kurtis Wheeler, Eli Kane, Ben Brooks, Alex de Lazzari, Ben Francis, and Zach Hanna/Photo by Patricia Leslie
An All-Star at Brucker Hall, Fort Myer, VA, May 17, 2015/Photo by Patricia Leslie
The only female spotted on the stage the whole afternoon was Caeley Niess who played a sexy Concerto for Cootie by Duke Ellington (1899-1974) and almost stole the show. Niess's parents, Suzanne and Matt Niess are members of the Army band. Other All-Star trumpeters are Robert A. Barron, Michael Berkeley, Nathan Bradley, Marshall Klimmek, and Jake Crawford/Photo by Patricia Leslie
All-Stars at Brucker Hall, Fort Myer, VA, May 17, 2015/Photo by Patricia Leslie
On drums somewhere in the photo is All-Star Scott Sawicki /Photo by Patricia Leslie
All-Stars at Brucker Hall, Fort Myer, VA, May 17, 2015/Photo by Patricia Leslie
An All-Star at Brucker Hall, Fort Myer, VA, May 17, 2015/Photo by Patricia Leslie
All-Stars at Brucker Hall, Fort Myer, VA, May 17, 2015/Photo by Patricia Leslie
Behind the trombone is an All-Star/Photo by Patricia Leslie
These two All-Stars really dug their music on stage at Brucker Hall, Fort Myer, VA, May 17, 2015/Photo by Patricia Leslie
All-Star bassists are Jacob Dormuth and Michael Baylock/Photo by Patricia Leslie
More All-Stars at Brucker Hall, Fort Myer, VA, May 17, 2015/Photo by Patricia Leslie
 

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