[JPL] Jazz Fans Celebrate Old and New in 2007

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Wed Dec 19 06:51:33 EST 2007


Jazz Fans Celebrate Old and New in 2007
By Doug Levine 
18 December 2007
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Jazz fans are well known for celebrating the old and the new, and 2007 was
no exception. As VOA's Doug Levine reports, the year was filled with jazz
tributes, including one to the man who introduced jazz to millions around
the world.

Willis Conover at work at VOA
More than 10 years after his death, the voice of famed VOA broadcaster
Willis Conover still resonates. His 40-year stint as host of "Music USA" was
the inspiration for a tribute concert beamed live from Voice of America
headquarters, "Voices of Freedom: A Celebration of VOA Jazz and Willis
Conover." A quintet of international jazz all stars led by saxophonist
Paquito D'Rivera honored Willis with a rendition of Duke Ellington's "Take
The 'A' Train."

The concert also celebrated the memory of another famous jazz ambassador,
Dizzy Gillespie, and the 50th anniversary of his group's first U.S. State
Department-sponsored tour.

When listeners weren't waxing nostalgic with re-issues from past masters,
they were busy checking out new jazz releases. Top sellers of 2007 include
albums by Michael Buble, Herbie Hancock, Boney James, Diana Krall, and the
first full collaboration by George Benson and Al Jarreau.

Dave Brubeck still performing for audiences at 86
Live jazz was, well, alive and well in '07. Despite rising fuel prices, fans
came from far and wide to celebrate the year's most talked about event, the
50th anniversary of the Monterey Jazz Festival. Pianist Dave Brubeck, who
helped get approval from the city of Monterey, California, to launch the
very first festival in 1958, made his 14th appearance there last September.
Sonny Rollins, Dave Holland, Ornette Coleman, Diana Krall, James Moody and
Jim Hall were among the participants in Monterey's golden anniversary

A Monterey Jazz Festival favorite was legendary drummer Max Roach, who never
failed to rise to the occasion with the biggest names in jazz. Roach was one
of the last remaining architects of the "bebop" movement when he died in

Michael Brecker
The jazz world also said goodbye to saxophonist Michael Brecker, pianist
Alice Coltrane, fusion pioneer Joe Zawinul, and vocalist Teresa Brewer.

Jazz was not immune to the ever-growing "crossover" trend in 2007. In fact,
audiences, that these days are getting more and more accustomed to the idea
of jazz blending with world music, hip-hop and other styles, seem cautiously
agreeable to it.

Enter the Bruce Hornsby Trio, featuring bassist Christian McBride, drummer
Jack DeJohnette and pianist Bruce Hornsby, who with their 2007 album, "Camp
Meeting," made fans quickly forget that Hornsby once had a Number One pop
single. The trio pays tribute to modern jazz greats Miles Davis, John
Coltrane, Bud Powell, Ornette Coleman and Thelonious Monk.



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