It is not entirely clear to me what the point of having a blog is if you can't use it to occasionally give a shout-out to your friends and colleagues. So, in that spirit...
Trumpeter and Secret Society alumnus André Canniere is briefly back in NYC, and has gotten the old gang back together -- Josh Rutner, Ryan Ferreira, Ike Sturm, Ted Poor -- for a gig at Saint Peter's Church this Thursday, April 16. 8 PM hit, suggested donation $5. You'll help me welcome the old boy back to Gotham, won't you? You can download a track from the André's 2006 joint As Of Yet here.
And, on the new-bigband tip, my Pulse colleagues have some minty-fresh large ensemble CDs for you:
JC Sanford and his co-leader, David Schumacher, have unleashed the debut CD from their 17-piece behemoth Sound Assembly. Edge of the Mind (Beauport Jazz) features a killing band (anchored by John Hollenbeck on drums) and deftly integrates an almost dizzying array of compositional variety. (Samples here or on MySpace.)
Meanwhile, Joe Phillips has a new, insanely ambitious release out on Innova. Sometimes I think cat-herding 18 musicians is Sisyphean, but Joe's own band is 25-strong. (Gah!) The very un-bigband-y palette includes five singers, seven strings, two vibraphones, two pianos, two guitars, and no drumset. Joe is one of the first composers I met in New York -- in fact, I met him before I even moved here, back when I was Fung Wah-ing my way into town every week for the BMI Jazz Composers Workshop. He is the guy who deserves the credit -- or the blame, I guess -- for convincing me that minimalism didn't suck, and that (post)minimalist-inflected jazz was viable. This new disc, Vipassana is flat-out gorgeous -- just listen to the excerpts here.
Finally, not to be left behind, Jamie Begian returns to the scene with a new bigband record of his own -- coming "sometime in the summer of 2009." Watch this space -- or, you know, this space -- and I'll sound the alarm when it drops. His previous outing, 2003's Trance, is formidable.