Another significant Canadian contributor to jazz is gone. Barely more than a week after Gene Lees died comes news that Rob McConnell lost his long struggle with cancer yesterday in a Toronto hospital. A valve trombonist, arranger, composer and leader, McConnell made his Boss Brass one of the significant big bands of the latter part of the twentieth century and into the first decade of this one.
Here he is with the Boss Brass on a visit to the US west coast in 1981. Rob introduces the piece and soloists. Jimmy" is pianist Jimmy Dale. Terry Clarke is the drummer, Don Thompson the bassist. A complete list of the band members runs at the end of the clip.
Go here for a reasonably good biography of McConnell and what seems to be a complete list of his released albums. Rob McConnell, RIP
I love jazz because it is both challenging and exhilarating, and the endeavor of improvisation is the highest form of art.
I met so many great musicians--including my two earliest heroes, Maynard Ferguson and Dizzy Gillespie--by attending concerts
and being willing to treat them with the respect they deserve.
The best show I ever attended was the Pat Metheny/Ornette Coleman Song X concert at Cornell University.
The first jazz record I bought was an RCA compilation by Dizzy Gillespie.
My advice to new listeners is to not be afraid to listen to something because you're not familiar with the artists or the band or
the genre or anything - this is music that is best experienced through discovery.