Recommendation: Brookmeyer For The Vanguard

The Vanguard Jazz Orchestra, Over Time: Music of Bob Brookmeyer (Planet Arts)

Vanguard, Brookmeyer 2This is the album Bob Brookmeyer was preparing for the Vanguard orchestra before he died at the end of 2011. As a composer and arranger, Brookmeyer was a creative force in the Vanguard’s predecessor, the Mel Lewis Jazz Orchestra, and its forerunner, the big band co-led by Lewis and Thad Jones. With Jones-Lewis, he was also a principal soloist, on valve trombone. Brookmeyer’s rich history with all of the band’s iterations made him intimately familiar with the styles, capabilities and peculiarities of its members. The album demonstrates not only his understanding of the organization and its players, but also their nonpareil ability to interpret every subtlety, profundity and humorous turn of his writing. Among the superb soloists for whom he made new pieces are Rich Perry, Scott Wendholt, Ralph Lalama, Gary Smulyan and Dick Oatts. Oatts’ alto saxophone solo in Brookmeyer’s brilliant arrangement of “Skylark” is a highlight.

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  1. says

    For players and composer/arrangers who may be interested in the new charts Brookmeyer wrote, I contacted the band via their website and they say they plan to offer the charts for purchase via Bob’s website in the future.

  2. Alan Broadbent says

    Magnificent in every way. A masterclass in composition, arranging and orchestration. A gift to us all. Thank you, Bob.

  3. Jim Brown says

    Brookmeyer has long been one of my favorites both as a player and an arranger. At least a half dozen CDs have been issued of his work with first rate European orchestras, most recently the excellent Standards with the New Arts Orchestra and vocalist Fay Claassen. Released in the week of his death, it’s marvelous writing and playing.

  4. Jan Brukman says

    Standards stretches the idea the way Holman did more than 50 years earlier with “Contemporary Concepts.” A lot has happened in 50 years.