Bruce Lofgren's Jazz Pirates | Wind and Sand

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Wind and Sand

by Bruce Lofgren's Jazz Pirates

Smoking hot (and cool) large jazz ensemble led by a highly original composer/arranger presents its fourth (and finest) CD release featuring stirring vocal performances, exciting instrumental solos, and stunning orchestral textures.
Genre: Jazz: Latin Jazz
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
1. Invitation
6:02 $0.99
2. Bop Talk
2:25 $0.99
3. Cafe Rio
5:07 $0.99
4. Far Far Away (Walks With Grandpa)
6:00 $0.99
5. Wind and Sand
5:43 $0.99
6. Find a Place
3:52 $0.99
7. Magic Shoes
6:18 $0.99
8. Days of August
4:39 $0.99
9. Gypsy Moon
7:06 $0.99
10. Michelle
3:41 $0.99
11. Sheet Music
3:39 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes

Wind And Sand by Scott Yanow

Throughout his career, Bruce Lofgren has been a distinctive guitarist,
an important bandleader in the Los Angeles area, and a very original
arranger-composer. Gypsy Moon is his fourth recording as the leader
of his own orchestra, and it features his arrangements of nine of his
originals plus two very different versions of standards.

Bruce Lofgren has written music almost from the time he first played
guitar at the age of 12. While originally interested in playing rock and
roll like Chuck Berry, his first teacher (Don Alexander) introduced
him to the great jazz players. “My ear developed quickly and I real-
ized that I had the ability to see the form of a song pretty quickly.
Writing and arranging music always interested me.” By the age of 16,
he was organizing his own group, The Vegas. While in college he led
The Barons Blues Band for two years. Although he wanted to be a
music major at the University of Washington, since the school did not
recognize the guitar as a legitimate instrument in the 1960s, Bruce
became an English Literature major while studying music on the side
and playing gigs every weekend. He contributed over 40 arrange-
ments for a ten-piece band, the Pacific Northwest Territory Band. After
college, Bruce moved to Los Angeles, traveled with the show band
Brother Love, and played and arranged for Ray Anthony. He studied
orchestration for a year with Dr. Albert Harris (who had him listen to
Ravel and Stravinsky), wrote for pop singers, gained some notoriety
for his arrangement of “Three Day Suckers” for Buddy Rich, and
toured with Airto and Flora Purim.

In 1973 he formed the Bruce Lofgren Jazz Orchestra which has since
become an institution in Los Angeles. It evolved over time into a very
individual group comprised of three trumpets, trombone, bass trom-
bone, two French horns, four woodwinds and a six-piece rhythm
section. For Wind and Sand, Bruce added guitarist Carl Verheyen who
had been a member of the group in the 1980s.

Wind and Sand begins with Lofgren’s transformation of Bronislaw
Kaper’s “Invitation”. It utilizes African rhythms played by percussion-
ist Brian Kilgore and drummer Bob Leatherbarrow, a passionate and
rockish guitar solo from Carl Verheyen, and a bit of tenor from Glen
Berger. “I usually only arrange other artist’s compositions when I feel
they can be done differently than they have in the past. Our version of
‘Invitation’ is basically in 6/4 time, but also adds a variety of other
accents and superimposed times.”

Next is “Bop Talk,” the first of three originals that feature the lyrics of
Ed Leimbacher and the vocals of Karen Mitchell. “Ed is a published
writer, reviewer, poet, blogger, and a very talented lyricist. He and I
were both English majors at the University of Washington, and we have
collaborated on quite a few songs through the years. Karen Mitchell is
bassist Red Mitchell’s niece. She is a delightful singer with great pitch
and really good stage presence who I have worked with during the past
two years.” “Bop Talk” was originally an instrumental before Bruce sent
the music to Leimbacher and asked him to add references to jazz icons.
The result is a good-humored and swinging piece that refers to nine
jazz greats and nine songs from the classic bebop era.

“Café Rio” has an extended form, a strong countermelody and a Brazilian
flavor with a nod towards Bruce Lofgren’s early interest in Tito Puente’s
band and Latin music of the 1950s. Charlie Ferguson’s keyboard solo is a
strong asset to the performance.

“Far Far Away” is a very personal piece for the composer, one written for his
grandfather who he called “Far Far” (the Swedish name for grandfather). “"He
emigrated from Sweden at the turn of the century when he was 18, with his
older brother, carving out a living as a carpenter and shipwright near Seattle in
the (at the time) heavily-forested Kingston area on Puget Sound. When I was
young we visited him often and he and I were close. He would take me for long
walks in the country. When I was 10 or 11, he gave away his dog and returned
to Sweden, which I thought was an extended visit. But after a year, news came
to us he had passed away, which floored me. When I wrote this piece, it re-
minded me of my walks with Grandpa, and then having him disappear from
my life.” The music is nostalgic, warm and evokes a sense of longing. Glen
Berger, who has several memorable solos throughout the set on several reed
instruments, takes a superb spot on soprano during “Far Far Away” that
perfectly fits the mood of the piece.

The cinematic “Wind and Sand” is an atmospheric piece again featuring Glen
Berger – this time on clarinet. “It conjures up the image of being in the desert
and watching the wind play with the sand, giving one the feeling of perman-
ence and change over time.”

“Find A Place,” about a sensuous affair in Brazil, serves as a perfect showcase
for Karen Mitchell’s warm voice, wide range and easy swing style.

“Magic Shoes” alternates between being a Latin piece and straight ahead, going
back and forth in a manner similar to Horace Silver’s “Nica’s Dream” while still
sounding like a Bruce Lofgren original. Ron King has a fiery trumpet solo that
perfectly fits the colorful arrangement as does the playing of the percussionists.

Bruce’s inspiration for “Days Of August” comes from his salad days growing
up in Seattle. “The months of August and September are so beautiful there.
During that period, Seattle has all of the greenery yet is warm with long, late
sunsets.” In addition to its catchy melody (which is worthy of being a movie
theme), the jazz waltz includes a concise alto solo by Glen Garrett and plenty of
picturesque ensembles.

“Gypsy Moon” is a spirited piece influenced by European folk music. After the
strong melody, Carl Verheyen takes a bluesy guitar solo that gets quite heated.

Bruce Lofgren’s tasteful revival of the Beatles’ “Michelle” turns the song into
a jazz waltz that is completely reharmonized while keeping its melody intact.
The baroque counterpoint in the piece’s development section is a highlight as is
Glen Garrett’s alto solo.

Wind and Sand concludes with “Sheet Music”, a witty exploration of sly
double-entendres featuring Karen Mitchell. “Karen’s performance is pretty
amazing because she changes from being this innocent person at the begin-
ning of the song to one who is aggressive and much more experienced.”

Bruce Lofgren works with his trio several times a month, is part of many
recording projects with other artists, and hopes to write for films in the future.
His orchestra is one of his main musical loves. It is very easy to understand why
after hearing the memorable music of Wind and Sand, its finest recording to date.



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