Way, way back when I was about 7 years old, I was mesmerized with a new arrangement of Count Basie’s music. Not done by the Count himself, but a group (that I learned much later on) was called Lambert, Henricks, & Ross (LHR). What they had done was overdub all the Basie Project’s music, recreating the concept of the big band sound using only their voices. By the time I knew the group’s name, the album had been redone- with Count Basie playing along. LHR was generally considered to be the most influential singing group in jazz history. (It was also one of the first integrated groups, to boot!)
I’ve loved jazz since I was a very little boy. I have no idea what makes its sounds resonate in my soul, but they do. And, today, I am lamenting the loss of my childhood favorite, Edie Hart. (Yes, she had reddish hair, too!)
Leonard Bernstein. Arthur Fielder. Michael Tilson Thomas. Marvin Hamlisch. Marin Alsop.
I always made sure I attend(ed) as many concerts led by these folks as I could. But, while I enjoyed their musical performances, I could never put my finger on exactly what made these folks such great musical leaders.
I’ve always been a great fan of Big Band music and Jazz. So, I was only slightly surprised to hear Herbie Hancock explain the confluence of STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) and jazz. He strongly believes that there is an intrinsic link between building things and playing music. Which, of course, means that our schools’ idea of cutting music from the curriculum is not helping our kids with STEM education.