Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Trumpeter Gardner, WJO make Basie music fresh again

  • Print

THE late, great composer and arranger Frank Foster cast a long shadow over the Muriel Richardson Auditorium stage Sunday as the Winnipeg Jazz Orchestra paid homage to the great music of the Count Basie Orchestra.

Foster's compositions and arrangements remain signature tunes of the Basie big band sound -- think Shiny Stockings -- and the WJO and trumpeter Derrick Gardner made them sound fresh in a great concert Sunday afternoon heavy on Foster's material.

ConcertReview

Basie & Beyond
Winnipeg Jazz Orchestra
Winnipeg Art Gallery
Nov. 17
4 stars out of 5

Gardner, who played in the Basie orchestra from 1991 to 1996 and who considered Foster a mentor, was a natural choice as band conductor and hot, hot soloist for some of the best big band music on the books.

Gardner, who played in the Basie orchestra from 1991 to 1996 and who considered Foster a mentor, was a natural choice as band conductor

The tone was set with the opening number, The Heat's On, when Gardner, a jazz studies professor at the University of Manitoba, let loose with the first of many hot solos during the afternoon concert, the first of two shows performed Sunday.

Who, Me?, a Foster composition, was a classic big band chart with great solo work by Gardner with just the rhythm section and solo highlights by the likes of trombonist Brad Shigeta and pianist Will Bonness, one of Gardner's teaching colleagues.

The drum set played a big role throughout the concert and drummer Rob Siwik took a few tasty solos during the afternoon.

Singer Joanna Majoko was wonderful on four numbers, from ballad to blues to scatting. Her rendition of Young and Foolish illustrated what a great-sounding polished singer the jazz studies student is, and her heartfelt Bring on the Raindrops showed she knows the blues when she hears them.

Majoko nailed the Betty Carter tune, Tight, with very good scatting and showed her versatility on an updated Gardner arrangement of Willow Weep for Me.

Shiny Stockings, one of the best-known tunes in the Basie repertoire, was written by Foster in 1955, but the WJO used a version Foster updated decades later that was a showcase for the saxophone section and for pianist Bonness.

Gardner also gave a nod to Thad Jones, the trumpet-playing composer and arranger who also made a big mark on the Basie book, with Jones's Counterblocking, a composition that pushed the boundaries of the mainstream big band sound. Foster's Disapproachment, in a similar vein, was an obscure piece written for the pianist Duke Pearson that Gardner added to the WJO show.

Gardner's own piece, Blues a la Burgess, written for his trumpeter father, was a highlight with outstanding solos by Gardner, tenor saxophonist Jeff Cooper and drummer Siwik.

 

chris.smith@freepress.mb.ca

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition November 18, 2013 D3

Fact Check

Fact Check

Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories?
Please use the form below and let us know.

* Required
  • Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error.

  • Please post exactly what was wrong with the story.

  • Please indicate your source for the correct information.

  • Yes

    No

  • This will only be used to contact you if we have a question about your submission, it will not be used to identify you or be published.

  • Cancel

Having problems with the form?

Contact Us Directly
  • Print

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective April 16, 2010.

letters

Make text: Larger | Smaller

LATEST VIDEO

Your top TV picks for this week - December 8-12

View more like this

Photo Store Gallery

  • A Canada goose makes takes flight on Wilkes Ave Friday afternoon- See Bryksa’s 30 Day goose a day challenge- Day 09- May 11, 2012   (JOE BRYKSA / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)
  • A baby Red Panda in her area at the Zoo. International Red Panda Day is Saturday September 15th and the Assiniboine Park Zoo will be celebrating in a big way! The Zoo is home to three red pandas - Rufus, Rouge and their cub who was born on June 30 of this year. The female cub has yet to be named and the Assiniboine Park Zoo is asking the community to help. September 14, 2012  BORIS MINKEVICH / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS

View More Gallery Photos

Poll

Now that former cabinet minister Theresa Oswald has entered the NDP leadership race, do you believe the "gang of five" rebel ministers were right to publicly criticize Premier Greg Selinger's leadership?

View Results

View Related Story

Ads by Google