LIVE REVIEW: Westchester Jazz Orchestra With Joe Lovano

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Thursday October 06, 2011


Opening Night for the Westchester Jazz Orchestra With Special Guest Joe Lovano
By: Ralph A. Miriello

Two Saturday’s ago, in the sleepy town of Irvington, NY, the Westchester Jazz Orchestra kicked off their 2011 season with a very special guest, the eminent saxophonist Joe Lovano. The Westchester Jazz Orchestra is a rotating group of talented, working musicians, who carry on the tradition of big band jazz orchestras. The group is a non-profit whose executive director Emily Tabin works tirelessly to sustain this wonderful musical resource for the benefit of County residents, as well as anyone else who follows their concert schedule.

The artistic director is Mike Holober, who directed the orchestra on this particular evening and also arranged the music for three of the nine scheduled pieces for this performance. Mr. Holober has recorded as a sideman and leader on many recordings. Mike is a pianist/composer who teaches Jazz Studies at City College in NY and is an Associate Guest conductor for the wonderful HR Big Band of Frankfurt, Germany.

The evening started off with a brief conversation with the saxophonist Mr. Lovano moderated by the WJO’s Mr. Holober. Joe recalled his upbringing in a musical family in Cleveland, Ohio where he started playing around the age of five or six years old. He described his years of education at the Berklee School of Music in Boston where he met many of his musical contemporaries. He spoke of paying his dues as a sideman with organ based groups, playing on what he called the “chittlin’ circuit,” behind the likes of Dr. Lonnie Smith and Brother Jack McDuff. He recalled formative years playing in the big bands of Woody Herman and the Thad Jones/ Mel Lewis Village Vanguard Orchestra, that he acknowledged were incubators for his developing sound. Joe has a special relationship with the WJO as he has been on the advisory board since the formation in 2003.

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