In this, our fourteenth season, we are doing some things differently. For one thing, we’ve started the season quite later. This is also the first time we’re trying matinees and I’m excited about that as it will present the opportunity for people to attend some of the concerts where they might not have otherwise been able to make it in the evening.
These details aside, let’s talk about the programming. You already know the what but let’s talk about the why.
The idea with the first concert is to start with something both special and different. It’s special as we have the pleasure of hosting the launch of Diane’s fifth album. It will be different in that this will be with a band that is comprised primarily of musicians from outside of the OJO. It’s been a little while since we’ve had some out-of-town musical guests so it will be exciting to have three within this one band.
Our second concert, a tribute to Miles Davis, is something I’ve wanted to do for a long time. Of course the music is fabulous. While we’ve played some of Miles’s music in a few concerts over the years, it was actually way back in 2005, when I presented my first concert at the NAC with a program called “The Magic of Miles Davis,” that we last played a complete concert of Miles music although we did do a Gil Evans/Miles Davis tribute in 2007. Over the years I’ve often written and spoken about the ways in which Miles Davis’s music, playing, and leadership provide lessons for life, work, and more. This is a topic I hold dear to my heart and these lessons are ones, in addition to others, that I try to live by every day. I really want to share those with more people.
Our third concert, a tribute to Mingus and Monk, will be a return to a couple of figures whom we’ve also celebrated variously in the past. After the chill cool of Miles, something that was the complete opposite seemed appropriate. This will be rousing, raucous, and a bit raunchy! Mingus and Monk definitely fit the bill and damn it’s just great music to play and to listen to.
Our fourth concert is all about the music from the era of the Great Depression. When you look at everything going on in the world today, a glass-half-empty view of things could lead one to get a bit down but of course there’s always the glass-half-full view and that’s what I wanted to recall and take inspiration from with this program. It’s also, in my humble opinion, some of the most exciting music in jazz especially when you think about everything that was going on in the time and how the incredible composers and musicians innovated during these early years.
Our fifth concert, featuring tunes from classic animated movies reworked in a jazz style, is one that I fully expected the more serious jazz fans to pass off as light fare. Every season it’s good to include at least one thing that will stretch our audience. Something that they might have never heard of before (last season’s equivalent show was the music of Reed Kotler) or something that they aren’t too sure about. This is that show. I can’t wait to work on the arrangements for this one.
Our sixth concert is, in many ways, a safe way to end the season. This is the bread and butter music of every jazz orchestra and big band. These are the old classics. However we never want to do what other jazz orchestras are doing so you can expect some surprises including some lesser-known tunes.
In all, I think this will be a great season and I’m really looking forward to sharing it with everyone, working with our musicians again, and seeing familiar and new faces in the audience. See you at a concert soon!