The Big Band Blab luncheon, which was held on Tuesday, May 28, 2018, as an extension to the Memorial Day weekend, definitely lived up to its title. The event started with a social one-on-one blab at 11:30 AM. Old friends enjoyed catching up with each other. Younger, ambitious big band enthusiasts had the opportunity to rub elbows in person with some of the greatest arrangers and musicians of all time. Big band videos playing in the background featured Count Basie, Stan Kenton, Duke Ellington, Jerry Lewis with his choreography to Neal Hefti’s Cute, Bernie Dresel and Duane Tatro’s fantastic Jazz for Moderns. Other music videos from some of the notable big band arrangers present at the event included Bill Homan, John Clayton, Kim Richmond, Gordon Goodwin, Nan Schwartz, Elliot Deutsch, Ira Hearshen and Dave Slonaker.
Following an amazing lunch and dessert buffet served personally by Catalina, the official blab session began with an elegant introduction by Gayle Levant.
Duane Tatro reminisced about the phone call that changed his life at age 16: a call from Stan Kenton to join the band and go on the road.
Kim Richmond, the masterful host, then introduced the panel of prestigious arrangers including John Clayton, Bill Holman, and Gordon Goodwin. Kim started with the good news that big band music is alive and well. He continued by naming a large number of active bands just in the LA area. The panel blab session included the discussion of a jazz band compared to an orchestra, working with band personnel, the challenges of a big band leader and arranger, some road stories and many other topics that are too numerous to write here. Fortunately for all, there will be a podcast available soon at the ASMAC.org website.
Scott Healy (arranger/pianist) and Bernie Dresel (drummer) joined the panel on stage to share their thoughts before taking their positions with bassist Cooper Appelt and saxophonists Gordon Goodwin and Kim Richmond. The audience was treated to vocalist Devyn Rush and guitarist/vocalist Paul Hefti as they gave a musical tribute to Paul’s father, the great Neil Hefti. Watch for this event podcast and enjoy other ASMAC luncheon podcasts at http://asmacblog.org/category/podcasts-luncheon/