Stars of jazz’s old guard Clark Terry (pictured), Ed Polcer, Benny Powell, Buddy DeFranco, Johnny Frigo and Joe Wilder each lead groups comprised of like talents on The Statesmen of Jazz: A Multitude of Stars, a two-CD set of standards out June 8 on Arbors. Kenny Davern, Warren Vaché, Eddie Locke, Wycliffe Gordon and Houston Person are also among the 30 jazz stars who perform on this set, which gives new impetus to the Statesmen of Jazz, a 10-year-old, non-profit corporation that presents master musicians in concerts and clinics to increase public awareness of jazz.
The Clark Terry group with Red Holloway and Wycliffe Gordon opens the CD with the Clark tunes “Top and Bottom” and “Elijah,” which is followed by vocalist Carrie Smith’s tribute to Bessie Smith, “Backwater Blues” and a tender-hearted medley of George Gershwin’s “The Man I Love,” and “Porgy.” Later Benny Powell’s aggregation swings on the Frank Foster classic “Shiny Stockings” and are joined by Frank Wess for a ballad rendition of “Why Do I Love You?” Other highlights include the Ed Polcer group’s jam on “Cherry” with Ken Peplowski, Bob Kindred and George Masso; Jane Jarvis’ rendition of “My Shining Hour”; Buddy DeFranco and Kenny Davern joining forces on “If I Had You”; Joe Wilder and Warren Vaché’s updated version of “Rocking Chair”; and Johnny Frigo sailing through “There Will Never Be Another You.”
Also, certain Statesmen will soon perform together live in June. A group led by Warren Vaché with Houston Person, Keter Betts, Norman Simmons and Eddie Locke will play the following shows in the Washington, D.C. area:
June 11, 2004 The Smithsonian’s Imax Jazz Theater at the Museum of Natural History
June 12, 2004 The Takoma Park, Maryland, Jazz Festival
From June 15-20, the Iridium Jazz Club in New York City will host a group co-led by Buddy DeFranco and Louie Bellson, with Warren Vaché, Norman Simmons, Howard Alden, Jay Leonhart (for three nights) and Earl May (for three nights), and with special guest appearances by Clark Terry, Wycliffe Gordon, Ken Peplowski, John Allred and Houston Person.