George Voland

George Voland: Remember Beauty: George Voland & Friends

$14.60 $16.98
Product Type: CD
Artist: George Voland

Title: Remember Beauty: George Voland & Friends
Label: CD Baby
Product Type: COMPACT DISCS

George Voland's Story 1.'Riff Version' (Note:2.'Full Score' Version follows this shorter version) I play valve trombone with happiness and heart because I was given great gifts during my growing up years. Those gifts included: a musical family; the ability to hear roots and changes even before I knew what those things were called; and a wise junior high band director who switched me from cornet to baritone horn. Without lessons, but with radio and records as my teachers, I played jazz in the privacy and safety of my room. I taught myself piano. I didn't play out while in high school except during my senior year, thanks to an enterprising New Rochelle High School classmate of mine, Keith McClelland, who formed a band to play arrangements he'd taken off records. Alas, I was too shy to solo. When I got to Middlebury College, another enterprising person, Randy McNamara, asked me to play in his college dance band, which also became the pit orchestra for the Broadway musicals put on by the community theater. As a musician at a college with no music school, I got to play everything from Bach to Stravinsky to Duke Ellington. My jazz improvising couldn't be stopped by my shyness any longer: As a member of Randy's band, I HAD to play, and my peers liked what I did and told me so. Vermont jazz players started hiring me to play gigs while I was still in college. They were good musicians and they taught me tunes and the intricacies of improvisation on the band stand. I never had written music for the small combo gigs, but I surely had to have ears when leaders called tunes and a keys. I listened like a fiend and I learned from wonderful players with who lived in a universe of jazz surrounded by cows in rural Vermont. For more than 40 years, that universe has been peopled by players who have inspired me. For many of those years, music was part-time. I had a great family to help support, and I taught high school English for 33 years because I loved it and teaching did allow me to pay the bills as well. I directed the high school jazz ensemble for many years and, thanks to the example of those who taught me jazz, I have been able to pass on the gift of jazz to many younger players and they've been my teachers as well. I currently consider myself a fulltime jazz musician who happens also to be an innkeeper, a writer, a college teacher, and giver of lessons. With my first album, "Remember Beauty: George Voland and Friends," the gift of my friend Allen Johnson, Jr., I'm poised to play as much jazz as comes my way or as much as I can bring my way. "Life is short," we often lament. But with so many good tunes to play and good people to play them with and for, it's not unusual for me to know in my heart of hearts that life isn't short at all. For at any moment on the bandstand, I can find myself in that space where music, played with joy, from the heart, brings me-and listeners, I hope-to a place that cannot be spoken of, but can certainly be felt as eternally alive and beautiful. George Voland's Story: Full Score Version I Find My Real Voice I met music thanks especially to my dad, a weekend "club date" musician who played cornet and trumpet in the New York and Connecticut areas from the early 1930's to the 1980's. I'm his namesake and his musical offspring as well. But I can never hear or play "Sophisticated Lady" without thinking also of my mom, Margaret, who played it so gently on the piano and who was a talented lyricist and mother. Both my sisters are gifted with music-Diana as a pianist who could play symphonic selections by ear before she was six, and Elissa, a wonderful acoustic guitarist. Speaking of Diana's early display of talent, I remember "Turkey in the Straw," a version improvised for a young Diana and me by Graham Forbes, later a pianist for Frank Sinatra, who honored Di's request during a jam session at the New Rochelle, NY apartment of trumpeter George Stacy. The next day, Diana was playing it by ear, including the Tatum-esque left hand and right hand flourishes. I owe my chosen instrumental "voice" to my band director at Isaac Young Junior High School (also Bob Mintzer's director, I found out a few years ago when Bob sat in with a group I was playing with at The Tyler Place, a family resort in Vermont). Director Harry Richman took me aside at the end of my first year in the junior high band. "George," he told me, "we have lots of trumpet players." He was gently implying, "We don't really need a player like you in that section." He might have added explicitly, "Plus, you don't sound that good and you don't practice, so we don't need you at all!" Instead, he handed me a large case that contained a baritone horn. "Practice this and learn how to play it by the fall." I took the horn home, scoured it clean inside and out, cradled it as if I'd always played baritone, put the mouthpiece to my lips, and blew. The note that came out had depth and sounded beautiful, not like the pinched treble blats that had often shot out of my cornet. I honestly knew right then that I'd found my real voice, though I wouldn't have expressed it that way as a junior high kid: I simply loved the low sound of that horn! Thus began a lifelong love of playing that started in the summer of 1957 and continues today, thanks to Mr. Richman. Hearing the Changes There were no school-sponsored jazz bands in New Rochelle. Instead, my father inadvertently gave me the gift of "the changes" when he taught himself to play accordion He never played the bass note buttons under the left hand, but only played chords in his right hand-the keyboard side of the accordion-a la Art Van Dam I know now that he was voicing close-harmony chords with the melody on top. At age 7 or 8, though, I didn't know he wasn't playing the roots of chords. However, for some wonderful reason, I could always hear the un-played roots! Before I fell asleep in my attic room on nights when dad was practicing in the next room, I'd sing the roots to his good chords for songs such as There's a Small Hotel, I Could Write a Book, Mountain Greenery, Small World, Isn't It?, She is Beautiful, and many others whose names I learned because I'd get out of bed and go in and ask Dad, "What was the name of that last one?" After I fell asleep, the music continued, and maybe the changes continued to print themselves on my brain, because those chords stuck with me, and the roots I added intuitively became the foundation on which to base my feel for improvisation even before I knew what that was. Lessons with Miles, Chet, Stan, Oscar, JJ, Bob, Gerry ... and Jack Sterling Jack Sterling? Yes. During the 1950's, Jack Sterling was an early morning radio host on WCBS New York. The transmitter tower was on an island in Long Island Sound, just south of New Rochelle, and Sterling's show came in clearly on the crystal radio I'd built as a Cub Scout project. Every morning, I'd wake up by six, put on the earphones, and listen to the live studio band on Sterling's show. Sterling played drums, and his steady band included, among others, Mary Osborne and her "All-Girl Guitar." Guests included Dick Hyman, Barry Galbraith, Tyree Glenn, Al Cohn, Zoot Sims, and many others who were likely on their way home after playing gigs in the New York clubs. That live jazz, first thing in the morning, taught me style and tunes and I'm grateful that I grew up at a time when Jack Sterling's show and radio in general offered such a rich musical education. And thank goodness for records and the players who became my teachers. It's not hyperbole to talk about wearing out the records that I played along with. They included Miles Davis' Porgy and Bess and Miles Ahead; Chet Baker and Strings; a Gerry Mulligan Quartet album with Bob Brookmeyer on valve trombone; Bob Brookmeyer and Friends, with friends Herbie Hancock, Gary Burton, Ron Carter, and Stan Getz; an Oscar Peterson/Ray Brown trio recording done live in Chicago; a JJ Johnson album on RCA that included "Lament"; the Atomic

Tracks:
1.1 Straight, No Chaser
1.2 Tenderly
1.3 Tangerine
1.4 Out of Nowhere
1.5 Thou Swell
1.6 Don't Get Around Much Anymore
1.7 Remember
1.8 Darn That Dream
1.9 Blues in the Closet
1.10 You've Changed

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