Tenor saxophonist Bill Holman wasn't as schooled as some of Stan Kenton's arrangers when he joined the band in 1952. Kenton was just coming off a jazz-classical kick, and with Count Basie forming a new big band, Kenton needed bolder, sassier arrangements that could swing. In fact, unless he started swinging, many of the restless musicians in his band were likely going to defect. By combining Basie's swing and the arranging style of Gerry Mulligan, Bill began writing electrifying new material for Kenton that vaulted the band into the 1950s. Songs like Invention for Trumpet and Guitar, Bags, In Lighter Vein, Stella by Starlight and Stompin' at the Savoy announced a new big-band approach that let soloists and sections show off and shine.
Now, Kathryn King—daughter of Bill and his former wife, late vocalist Jeri Southern—is raising money on Kickstarter to finish a film on Bill's life. This is an important documentary, since Kathryn is an insider with access to Bill and all of his colleagues. She also plans to touch on the evolution of West Coast jazz.
Kathryn has a great deal of experience in this area. For more information, go here. A word about Kickstarter. A donation is nothing more than a commitment. Whatever you pledge, it is charged to you only if the campaign meets its goal. If the campaign fails to reach its goal, no money changes hands.
As JazzWax readers know from my interview series with Bill (go here), he's a great guy and major player in the West Coast jazz movement as well as an eyewitness. Take a look at the video describing the the documentary here.
Best lobster roll—ever...
As readers know, I'm constantly on the lookout for great food and share my finds almost immediately. Two weeks ago, when I was in Boston, I finally found the lobster roll of my dreams in a seafood shack near the harbor. Thick, fresh-tasting lobster meat nestled high on a perfect roll—soft and embracing inside but stand-up on the exterior. I sigh just thinking about it. Till next time. Oh, right, the name of the place: James Hook & Co. here. [Photo above by Marc Myers]
Toshiko Akiyoshi. Following my post on the Japanese pianist, JazzWax reader Michael Berger sent along this wonderful clip of Akiyoshi appearing on What's My Line in 1956 while still a student at Boston's Berklee School of Music...
Wayne Andre video. The trombonist, who died in 2003, recorded with everyone, from the Sauter-Finegan Orchestra and Woody Herman to Alice Cooper and Bruce Springsteen. JazzWax reader Brett Gold sent along this documentary...
Count Basie in '63. JazzWax reader sent along a clip I hadn't seen before of the Basie band in Chicago playing the Swingin' Shepherd Blues. The person who put up the clip did not allow for embedding it so you'll have to view the clip via the link.
Free Art Pepper. Laurie, Art's widow, has made yet another clip available for free via a download at her site. This time it's Goodbye, from 1977. By the way, Laurie is busy on a memoir of her years with Art. For the free download, go here.
Snapping Up Little Jazz. If you're interested in owning artifacts from Roy Eldridge's estate, JazzWax reader Peter Sokolowski tells me that quite a few personal items of the late trumpeter are being sold off by RR Auction. The auction opens March 13 and ends March 20. For more information, go here.
Ornette and Bix radio. Ornette Coleman and Bix Beiderbecke may seem like opposites ends of the jazz spectrum but their birthdays were too close to ignore. WKCR in New York is featuring the alto saxophonist and cornetist for a two-day birthday broadcast. The station will be playing Ornette's albums on March 9 and Bix's on the 10th. You can listen in from anywhere in the world on your computer by going here.
Movie of the Week! YouTube hawk John Cooper has done it again—coming up with a dandy starring British comedian Norman Wisdom. Here is Wisdom in Just My Luck, from 1957. Dig the jumpin' opening arrangement of Tea for Two and how the pacing and storyline pull you through effortlessly. Watch for the movie theater scene, which is priceless...
Oddball album cover of the week.