“The big band orchestration is genius. The instrumentation of five saxes/woodwind, four trombones, 4-5 trumpets and a four – piece rhythm section results in literally countless and millions of different compositional formulas that will never be exhausted, even if every composer in the world was to write for the next thousand years.”
“We’re seeing more women artists in jazz, but perhaps not at the rate we’re expecting. I think one of the biggest challenges is to encourage young players to pursue music at a tertiary level and beyond.”
“Due to [JMI’s] small size, every student is known by each and every faculty member and receives continuous personal mentorship – which is not possible at a large institution. The JMI classroom and performance space ‘incubator’ reminds me of my days on Woody Herman’s band, traveling every day on the bus, surrounded by great, more experienced musicians, seriously listening, discussing and playing music night and day. JMI is that kind of growth environment and it shows in the competency of your graduates” – John Riley, Internationally acclaimed drummer, publisher, educator, lecturer at Manhattan School of Music (NY).
Manzanza’s vision is one of virtuosic precision which never enslaves the groove – a very African approach: complex yet irresistable.
“Performance aspects aside, this album will definitely seek to explore some different compositional structures. ade and I have toyed with – and talked about – the idea of through-composed work and song forms that aren’t of the typical “head-solo-head” structure. Those elements are now coming out in our co-writing, certainly.”
“Studying jazz fostered a strong sense of mindful listening and interaction within a group, nurtured my creativity through improvisation and composition and allowed me to explore various parameters within music which have crossed over into my own writing and singing.”
“I recorded ‘Frame of Reference’ in London over two days with the band coming together for the first time at the session. I’d never really worked in that way before, so it certainly brought some new pressures to the whole thing, but also gave the recording a great intensity and focus.”
“It was never my intention to recreate or imitate my dad’s playing, with Zawinul Legacy; in essence there is only one Joe Zawinul, and I let the music do the talking.”
Big Band Swing evolved during 1930s and ’40s wartime – a time of great oppression. It served to lift the spirits of those at that time, troops and civilians alike. Today too, Big Band Swing shouts an anthem call to all who are weary; Weary of war, worry and woe. So, as B# keeps Big Band Swing alive and live, people from ‘Gen Y to Gen Wartime’ smile, embrace and dance to re-feel their aliveness. And in the depths of their being, the ‘boom, boom, boom’ of today’s ‘modern bombs’ are again drowned by the joy of swing, the joy of life.
“I was always interested in boogie and ragtime, but didn’t have a teacher for that style, so I taught myself, with great difficulty, later in life.
I regret I didn’t live in Hamburg during the 1970s, when there was the huge explosion of boogie and blues piano players, the best in the world. It would have been clearer and quicker for me if I could have been part of that scene.”