The golden era of jazz big bands ended a lifetime ago, but the music rolls on.
By: Roger Levesque, Edmonton Journal
There are now only a handful of regular working big bands, mostly “ghost-bands,” so-called for the legacy of leader-composers who laid the foundations back in the mid-20th century.
Here in Edmonton, we’re lucky enough to claim the River City Big Band — 18 professionals and semi-pros — volunteers who have been blowing their horns for 20 years now. Yes, it’s good fun, but it also takes a certain devotion to attend rehearsals every Wednesday night (in season) for so long. Along the way they have put out two albums of music, originally under the direction of Neil Corlett and since for 17 years with conductor Larry Schrum.
This weekend, the RCBB marks that milestone with the first of several special shows dubbed Jazz at the Oasis, and they’re importing Wycliffe Gordon, a larger-than-life talent, to help them celebrate.