|Dallas Symphony Rehearses in Vail|
Last night the Bravo Vail Valley Music Festival opened with an excellent concert featuring a jazz sextet performing jazz classics and backed the full Dallas Symphony Orchestra.
This concert brought back a lot of memories. Conductor Jeff Tyzik was the lead trumpet player when Chuck Mangione toured with full orchestra after the success of "Feels So Good" in 1978. I remember seeing him play several times live. And featured soloist Byron Stripling played with the Rochester Jazz Band at the same concert where I played with the MIT Festival Jazz ensemble under Herb Pomeroy, at the Notre Dame Festival. Stripling's playing was the highlight of that 1983 concert, and it was perhaps the first night I realized I would never be a good enough player to be a professional performer. He blew me away.
He did again last night with several other great performers, including Wycliffe Gordon on trombone and soprano trombone (basically a slide trumpet), Jeff Clayton on sax, Dave Mancini on drums, and Kenny Walker on bass. Stripling and Gordon were the standout performers of the night, both of them singing as well as playing. Tyzik's arrangements of jazz classics were quite good harmonically (although the string were frequently lost as they were voiced too low to be heard over the winds). The best tunes of the night were"West End Blues," "Night in Tunisia," and "St. James Infirmary Blues."
This morning we were invited to an open rehearsal of what was billed as a tribute to Arthur Fielder and John Williams. The Williams material was quite fun. Hearing "Annakin's Theme" followed by "The Imperial March" showed how brilliant a composer Williams is, reverse-engineering a theme for the prequel character that is far better than anything in the movie itself deserves. And the march never fails to give me goosebumps. Following that with "Schindler's List" never fails to evoke a tear, and shows the huge range of ability Williams has as a composer.
All in all, a worthwhile trip!