Saturday, January 18, 2014

Pat LaBarbera and Gary Smulyan with String Quartet; Lew Tabackin with Orchestra

There's now movement on two of my beloved recording projects. Pat LaBarbera as featured soloist is now on board to record Pepper compositions in Toronto with a rhythm section plus string quartet. He'll be recording four newly written octet arrangements by LA based arranger and pianist Bevan Manson. I plan to do a crowdfunding campaign in April 2014 to raise $2,000 for Bevan Manson's arranging commission. I'll need your help to reach colleagues who might contribute, thanks. 

These four new arrangements will complement the four Manson wrote to feature Gary Smulyan that were performed in 2011 at Birdland in New York City. (Samples are at pepperadams.com.) Once eight pieces are in place we can then move ahead to line up the musicians, studios, label and financing. The plan is to release a complete CD of Manson's brilliant octet charts. Half will be recorded in NYC featuring Smulyan on baritone sax, ideally again with the great George Mraz and Kenny Washington. The other half would feature LaBarbera on tenor and soprano saxophone with a band to be determined, but hopefully including cellist Matt Brubeck and violinists Aline and Luane Homzy.

The even more ambitious flute concerto project for Lew Tabackin is also moving ahead. Bevan is applying for a compositional grant to write a new piece for flute and chamber orchestra--about 30 pieces--based on themes from Pepper's tunes that is easily expandable to full orchestra. Manson is also looking for conductors to get the piece on their calendars. (Any ideas anyone?) Ultimately, we'll need to record the piece, but funding, etc. for that is far off in the future. For now, Manson is planning a compendium CD of his pieces for flute. Arranger Tony Faulkner might assist in arranging a suite of Pepper's seven superb ballads as an additional Tabackin feature, since Faulkner's already scored several for big band (see pepperadams.com). I've also requested that Manson consider scoring Lew's terrific arrangement of Pepper's Bossa Nouveau (sample at pepperadams.com) for the CD.

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