It's the birthday of tenor saxophone legend Eddie "Lockjaw" Davis. He was a pretty powerful presence in bands led by Cootie Williams, Lucky Millinder, Andy Kirk, Louis Armstrong, and Count Basie. He also led his own sessions, which included swing, bop, hard bop, Latin jazz, and soul jazz genres. Basically, Eddie Davis played a lot of music. Check out this video - Eddie plays Ray Noble's "Cherokee" with the Count Basie Orchestra.
Each year, IAJE and the Herb Alpert Foundation award the esteemed Gil Evans Commission, honoring an emerging jazz composer. In addition to a modest fellowship, the honoree receives an all-expense paid trip to the IAJE conference to showcase the work. Past winners include Maria Schneider and John Hollenbeck.
This years winner is Wil Swindler, a Denver-based saxophonist and composer. Swinder brought presented his commissioned work, "Glass," featuring his Elevenet. They are - Wil Swindler (Alto Saxophone), Peter Sommer (Tenor Saxophone), Art Bouton (Alto Flute), April Johannesen (Bass Clarinet), Al Hood, Clay Jenkins (Trumpets), Jason Johnston (French Horn), Dave Stamps (Trombone), Gary Mayne (Tuba), Dana Landry (Piano), Erik Applegate (Bass), Jim White (Drums).
I asked Wil to describe the ideas behind his composition. Here's what he said:
This piece is composed on a four-note melodic cell transposed by major thirds to create a 12-note collection out of which the melodic and much of the harmonic material presents itself. It passes through a variety of time signatures and rhythmic feels, never straying from the four note cell and its derivative motives. Keep an ear out for the use of ensemble interjections during the alto solo - it is an acoustic representation of how a soloist might use a harmonization pedal to supplement some improvised lines.
Check out an audience recording of "Glass":
Wil Swindler Elevenet - Glass