Posts Tagged ‘cd’


Monday, July 16th, 2012

With the exception of the moonlight-serenading Glenn Miller ghosters, there are no longer any big bands on the road these days. The young crew led by Maynard Ferguson was the last of its kind. MF’s death in 2006 represented, once and for all, the end of the traveling bands.

But the big band genre’ is hardly extinct. Certainly, there are the superb college and high school jazz bands, but in the professional sector, big bands abound for recording purposes, rehearsals and local gigs. An exception of sorts to the traveling rule is the case of the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra under the direction of Wynton Marsalis, which does tour from time to time on a limited basis.

In the “local sector”—and “local” is not to be taken as a negative term—there is the Zeropoint Big Band based in central Pennsylvania. This talented crew has just recorded a CD, “James Witherite + 17,” featuring the arrangements, six of the nine compositions recorded, and the flugelhorn solos of Mr. Witherite himself.

You’ve got to love this guy. He’s a superb improviser—who swings like the dickens–an inventive composer and arranger, and, get this, a horse racing announcer who has breathlessly described thoroughbred and harness races at more than 50 tracks throughout north America. A renaissance man, indeed.

He’s been at the jazz game since childhood, studied formally at Duquesne, released his first CD as a leader, “West by Northwest,” in 2006; followed by “Live in Pittsburgh,” recorded a year later with the Duquesne University Jazz Ensemble.

The new CD is just marvelous in terms of ensemble tightness, intonation and sense of swing. There are, maybe, one or two ragged edges in the brass section on a selection or two, but that only adds to the excitement and makes these guys seem human! The rhythm section, booted by drummer Kevin Lowe, is loose enough to cook but precise enough to drive the rather complex shout choruses.

The short title cut, “0.67;” “Father John;” the standard “My One and Only Love” (featuring the Arthur Prysock-inspired vocals of Michael Andrews); and Duke’s “Love You Madly” (with a fine, fine vocal by Carolyn Perteete) are personal favorites. All the titles, however, are worth listening to again and again, as there’s something new to be heard on each go-round.

On a personal basis, I’ve heard James Witherite several times—on piano as well as flugelhorn—and I’ll only repeat what I told him. “Whenever I get a band together,” I said to him: YOU’RE HIRED.

And about the band? Take the plunge. Go on the road.

For more information on James Witherite, the Zeropoint Big Band, and the CDs availability, log on to and/or


Thursday, April 12th, 2012

How many times have you wanted to email the owner or founder of a company directly? Maybe you love them. Maybe you don’t care for them. Maybe you want help in finding a CD or DVD. Maybe you just want to talk. Now you can, and I’m inviting you. My personal email is I founded and I own, and I invite you to write about anything at all. In the process of doing necessary little “tweaks,” it seems our “contact” icon is out of order for a brief moment. No matter. That’s where you get me. At any time.


Thursday, July 10th, 2008

Each and every item: $15**
Friday, Saturday and Sunday only
**two-item minimum

Get all the DVDs, CDs and books you’ve always wanted at a once-in-a-lifetime bargain price, with free shipping, of course.


Tuesday, May 10th, 2005

There’s no rhyme or reason to Verve Records’ reissue program, especially when it comes to Gene Krupa. It often seems, in fact, that Gene really gets the short end of the stick (pardon the pun) when it comes to putting out vintage product on CD. As an example, the famed “Big Noise From Winnetka” CD is available only as an import, as are the “Sextet Sessions” compilations. Basically, only “Krupa and Rich” and the “Original Drum Battle” are commonly available, and none of these projects have any unissued or alternate takes, and no one even bothered to write a set of updated linear notes. Many of us remember when the “Original Drum Battle” was released on CD, and we had all hoped for a bunch of additional, unissued material. Other than restoring Ella Fitzgerald’s vocal on “Perdido,” there was nothing else new. 

“Gene Krupa Plays Gerry Mulligan Arrangements” is no exception. Recorded in 1958 with an all-star group that included Phil Woods, Hank Jones, Kai Winding, Urbie Green and many more, the recording received four stars from Down Beat magazine when it was reviewed in 1959. It was and it is superb, albeit not particularly inspiring. Mulligan’s charts, most written in 1946, held up when this was recorded and for the most part still hold up today. Though a couple of the songs could have used another take or so, it is generally well done. Gene is not really featured on this date, other than for a few breaks here and there, and you can hear that he’s really devoted to playing Mulligan’s charts properly. The charts are the star on this recording, and as a matter of fact, Mulligan actually conducted four of the twelve tunes on this outing. The other “star,” if there was one, was alto saxophonist Phil Woods’ playing. Every Woods’ solo is an absolute gem. The stereo sound, by the way, is fabulous, and you can really hear everything that was going on. 

What is terribly disappointing, though, is the lack of out takes, alternate takes, updated notes or any “extras” that we’ve come to expect from CD reissues. Although most of the Krupa discographers only list the master takes to this session, there simply had to be others during the course of these two recording dates. It is unlikely that every thing else, other than the masters, was destroyed. Most of the other artists who are the subject of Verve reissues, including Tal Farlow, Count Basie and many others, get the “full treatment.” Why not Gene? It makes one wonder why they put this thing out at all. 

“Gene Krupa Plays Gerry Mulligan Arrangements,” in terms of sound, is a 96KHG, 24-bit digital transfer. I’m not sure what that means, other than to report to you that the sound is great. Verve Records, now owned by an outfit called the Universal Music Company, informs that this CD will only be available until March, 2008. Presumably, that makes it a “limited edition,” which is another thing I can’t figure out. 

If any of our good supporters out there are having a problem finding this, let us know and I’ll make sure you get a copy. You should have it. I only wish there were more of it. 

Keep swingin’ 

Bruce Klauber