8 September 2011
I could warm to living in NYC especially if I had an independent income. I feel at home when I cross a road and recognise someone. Linda Oh was crossing against us and we had a small chat about who was playing at Smalls. It is a S/small world. We were off to hear the Vanguard Jazz Orchestra at the Village Vanguard and to catch up with John Riley who had recently been in Canberra. But the whole band seemed to have changed. John was replaced, as was the bassist, and Jim McNeely wasn’t on piano. I didn’t catch all the names, but I’m pretty sure many of the horns were changed too. It must be the Labor Day long weekend that’s done it, but I enjoyed the music none-the-less. This is richly orchestrated music with lots of melodic undercurrents, fills, dynamics and the rest and the band was tight and superbly dynamic and genuinely well intoned. Solos in big ensembles are heavily circumscribed and can suffer from that, but these were some decent soloists and they were also much enjoyed. This is the continuation of the Thad Jones-Mel Lewis Orchestra, so there were charts by Thad Jones, a Mintzer arrangement of Herbie Hancock (One finger snap) and even a Hendrix tune (Up from the skies) rearranged for the band. Nice players make the lush reeds, the mellifluous trombones and the blatant trumpets so obvious and pleasing. The Vanguard Jazz Orchestra played at the Village Vanguard, but who know who the performers were. Sadly no pics.