WACO: A Big Band for Modern Times
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Photo from the Earshot Jazz cover of August 2009 issue featuring WACO. WACO is Al Keith, Mark Taylor, Stuart MacDonald, Thomas Marriott, Phil Sparks,Steve Treseler, Jim Dejoie Byron Vannoy, Greg Sinibaldi, Samantha Boshnack Chris Stover, Robin Holcomb, Tom Varner, Brad Allison, Eric Barber (and not present in photo Nelson Bell and Wayne Horvitz)
From the Earshot Jazz article by Peter Monaghan:
Fourteen or more jazz players at full throttle is an unmatched musical thrill, to be sure. And that’s not where the joy of big-bands ends. You may experience breathtaking precision and unison of a kind that the Basie band perfected, or the exquisite voicing of Ellington’s men. At the least, you’ll hear a lot happening, and cop an uncommon musical clout. It is our good fortune, as Seattleites, then, that our city offers as much in the way of big-band variety as any American city. A healthy jazz ecology, with several high schools turning out shoals of accomplished players, ensures that those large ensembles, in their considerable numbers, maintain an impressive level of musicianship. The region’s ace high-school bands play superbly in Basie and Ellington modes. Jay Thomas’s Friendly Fire sparks what its name implies. Jim Knapp’s big band takes on the compositional complexity of pieces such as its leader’s own. The Seattle Repertory Jazz Orchestra can rightly boast of an all-star local lineup that performs, as its name suggests, the great music of the art form’s yesteryears. Several other spirited ensembles surely make this city ranks second to none in this powerful, driving form of jazz. But what the scene has missed is a large ensemble that plays a truly modern repertoire. Into this breach has stepped the Washington Composers Orchestra (WACO), which three top musicians with extensive New York experience formed last year. It was then that plans came to fruition between wife-and-husband team Robin Holcomb and Wayne Horvitz, who had been in Seattle for a decade, and French horn master Tom Varner, a much more recent arrival in the Northwest.
Go to Earshot Jazz publication to continue reading.
WACO in performance at TOST in Fremont on Sunday June 28th, 2009
Seattle photographer Daniel Sheehan, a portrait photographer specializing in jazz photography, and editorial photography for publications and corporations and portrait photographers Seattle with an unobtrusive, story-telling approach creating award winning wedding photojournalism ranking him among the best Seattle wedding photographers.