It is Memorial Day in the United States, a time for parades, picnics and family gatherings across the land. This is the perfect occasion on which to honor the US armed services by acknowledging and displaying the accomplishments of their bands dedicated to the music that is the primary stock in trade of Rifftides. We begin with the Airmen of Note, the jazz ensemble of the United States Air Force. The arrangement of “Cherokee” is by Alan Baylock.
The US Army Blues appeared a few years ago at—appropriately enough—Blues Alley, the distinguished Washington, DC, jazz club. You may recognize the tune.
Hoagy Carmichael composed “Stardust in 1927. Three years earlier, Douglas Farber wrote the melody of “Limehouse Blues,” a piece frequently adapted, capable of sounding modern in any era. We hear it by the U.S. Navy Band Commodores Jazz Ensemble
There is a top-flight Coast Guard jazz band, too. Doc Severinsen sat in with them not long after his 89th birthday in a concert at the Coast Guard Academy in New London, Connecticut. They played Kurt Weill’s “September Song.”
Finally, we hear the United States Marine Corps Jazz Orchestra in a 2017 concert in Alexandria, Virginia. We move from standard songs to Chick Corea’s modern classic, “Spain,” inspired by Joaquin Rodrigo’s Concierto de Aranjez. The arrangement is by Mike Crotty. The conductor is Captain Ryan J. Nowlin.
I regret not being able to name the splendid musicians who appeared in these videos. Let us thank them all for their service and their musicianship. We wish them and you a happy Memorial Day.