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Bob Brookmeyer On JazzSet

Bob Brookmeyer.
Bent Poulsen
Bob Brookmeyer.

At the 2007 North Sea Jazz Festival, four finalists faced off in the European Broadcasting Union competition for best young band. The winner — beating groups from Germany, Canada, and France — was the group Empirical, sponsored by the BBC. In Empirical's own words, the band is "dedicated to maintaining the roots of traditional modern jazz, with a definite finger on the pulse of the contemporary world." The British magazine Jazzwise named its self-titled debut Album of the Year. In June 2008, Empirical comes to the JVC Jazz Festival in New York.

Next, at the Madeira stage, trumpeter Marvin Stamm and pianist Bill Mays converse on a composition by Thad Jones, who directly influenced many musicians in Europe. After "Three and One," it's time for a German orchestra devoted to a Jones protege.

Bob Brookmeyer grew up in Kansas City in the 1930s, and says that the first time he was ever really happy was the night he saw the Count Basie Orchestra play. Brookmeyer was 12 at the time. A decade later, he was the valve trombonist in small groups with Stan Getz, then Gerry Mulligan, and finally Clark Terry. But Brookmeyer never left big bands. He was a key member of the Thad Jones and Mel Lewis Orchestra. With his compositions, he loved to push them to new heights.

In the early 1990s, Brookmeyer and some German colleagues founded an 18-piece ensemble that continues to play his compositions. From North Sea, the Bob Brookmeyer New Art Orchestra takes the stage, and after two pieces, special guest Joe Lovano joins them on tenor.

Originally recorded July 14, 2007.


Thanks to Radio Netherlands — producer Manon Miessen, recording engineer Peter Vincent, liaison Noah Waxman — for the music from the North Sea Festival on JazzSet.

Recording engineer Ginger Bruner at KUNV Las Vegas, technical director Duke Markos, producer Becca Pulliam, and executive producer Thurston Briscoe III at WBGO Jazz 88 in Newark, N.J. and WBGO.org.

Copyright 2008 WBGO