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Announcements

Diane Moser’s Composers Big Band 19th Anniversary Concert w/guest composer Linda Miksza

photo credit: Dennis Connors
photo credit: Dennis Connors
On March 30th at 8PM at Trumpets Jazz Club in Montclair, NJ, we will be celebrating 19 years of developing and presenting new music for big band. Since 1997 we have presented over 100 guest composers and performers and our resident composers have grown to eleven! This month we welcome composer Linda Miksza and her composition “Bottoms Up”, inspired by Thad Jones’s “electric period” from the late 1960s and throughout the 1970s. Linda Miksza is not only a composer, but also a performer and music educator. She writes in classical, musical theater, jazz and pop styles, and has studied composition with Ting Ho and Rich DeRosa. Linda has been featured with us in previous years. During our residency (Jan 1997-June 2003) at Tierney’s Tavern in Montclair, NJ, we performed her composition “Gris Fantasma” (A Mini Opera For Big Band), on Halloween of course, and since moving to Trumpets Jazz Club we have performed her arrangements of “Angel Eyes” and “Santa Baby”. Currently she is completing a collection of pieces set to the poetry of Maya Angelou, entitled “Melodies For Maya”. And, we have a guest conductor, Dr. David Demsey, Professor of Music and Coordinator of Jazz Studies at William Paterson University. Demsey will say a few words about the legacy of Thad Jones, who was the first artistic director of the jazz program at WPU.

Linda and Ed Xiques, photo credit: Dennis Connors
Linda and Ed Xiques, photo credit: Dennis Connors
Linda is the author of “Electric Thad: Thad Jones and His Use of Electric Instruments and Rock Styles in the Thad Jones-Mel Lewis Orchestra”, recently published in Jazz Perspectives, which I highly recommend as a “must read” for all of you Thad Jones/Mel Lewis fans.
Linda goes into great depths about that period of history not only with Thad and Mel, but with the music scene in general. In the article she interviews our lead alto player and contributing composer Ed Xiques who was a member of the Thad Jones-Mel Lewis Orchestra from 1971-1978. Currently, Linda is working on a more in depth version of that interview and preparing it for publication.

Ed Xiques leading the band from our early days at Trumpets Jazz Club. Photo credit: Dennis Connors
Ed Xiques leading the band from our early days at Trumpets Jazz Club. Photo credit: Dennis Connors
Program notes from Linda:
Bottoms Up is a “tip of the hat” to Thad Jones and was inspired by the Electric Thad topic. Its score includes electric guitar with a wah-wah effect pedal, electric bass and electric piano (specifically a Fender Rhodes). The form is basically a 12-bar blues with extended harmonies. It opens with a slow 4-bar “orchestral” prelude, before going into a funk-rock groove, representing the musical trend that so influenced Thad Jones as a composer in the 1970s.

Dennis Connors, our resident photographer and film maker.
Dennis Connors, our resident photographer and film maker.

It has been an amazing 19 years with these fabulous musicians! We’ve done everything from straight ahead to the avant-garde and everything in between.Currently Dennis Connors is working on a feature film about the band, a little preview of that is in this short trailer. We’re working towards a new recording and archiving all of our charts and documents from the past 19 years. A huge thank you to all who have performed with us, did the door (thank you Natascha, Chad, Dan, Ariel and many others), created fliers and ads (thank you Bruce Hanson), wrote stories about us (thank you Elzy Kolb and George Kanzler and many others) and of course a huge thank you to our audience members who have been incredibly loyal for the past 19 years, you inspire us to continue the mission!

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Announcements

Diane Moser’s Composers Big Band features guest composer Phil Engsberg Dec 9, 2015

Phil Engsberg HeadshotContinuing with presenting emerging young composers the CBB features guest composer Phil Engsberg on Dec 9, 2015 at Trumpets Jazz Club, Montclair, NJ. Phil Engsberg is one of New Jersey’s up-and-coming young composers. Phil attended the University of North Florida to study saxophone performance with the great Bunky Green, but found his voice after moving to New Jersey to study composition at William Paterson University with some of the well-established musicians in the area – Cecil Bridgewater, Pete McGuinness, and Jim McNeely.

Drawing heavily from the legacy of Gil Evans and Bob Brookmeyer, Phil’s music is rooted in the tradition of classic big band writing, but is always looking to touch the audience in its own way. Dabbling in everything from big band composition and film scoring, to poetry, and spoken word, his music brings an exciting, lyrical storytelling aspect that is sure to grab your attention, and keep you looking for what comes next.

Phil’s music has been performed at some of New York and New Jersey’s premiere jazz clubs. He co-leads a big band called “Big Beat” with Caleb Rumley and Charlie Dougherty, both who have been guest composers with the CBB. He is currently a part of the BMI Jazz Composer’s Workshop and is looking forward to bringing some of his newest works to life.

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Announcements

Diane Moser’s Composers Big Band Annual Peace Concert and Tribute to Daniel Pearl World Music Days Oct 7th, 2015

images Once again we present our Annual Peace Concert and Tribute to Daniel Pearl World Music Days on Oct 7th, 8PM at Trumpets Jazz Club in Montclair, NJ. Our peace concerts began the month of September in 2001, just a few short weeks after the terrorist attacks on Sept 11th. Our next peace concert was in 2004, and then again in 2008. Since October 2011, we have been participating with the Daniel Pearl World Music Days, and each year we present an evening of music that reflects on our global society; it’s challenges, it’s beauty and our hopes for a more harmonious future.

This year we are featuring new works by:Marty Fogel, Rob Middleton, Diane Moser and guest composer,Caleb Rumley. We will also feature works that we have featured in past peace concerts by our resident composers:Jim Cifelli, Matt Haviland, Rob Henke, Erick Storckman, Russ Vines and Ed Xiques.

Daniel Pearl
Daniel Pearl

Although his vocation as a journalist is what brought Daniel Pearl professional acclaim, Danny was also a classically trained violinist, an avid fiddler and a creative mandolin player who used his passion for music to form friendships that crossed cultural and religious divides.

Danny lived a life that knew no geographical boundaries with a spirit that knew no prejudice. He joined musical groups in every community in which he lived, leaving behind a trail of musician-friends around the globe. While working as a Wall Street Journal reporter in South Asia in 2002, he was kidnapped and murdered by terrorists in Pakistan, causing international outrage.

The world was shocked by the senseless loss of Daniel Pearl, an ethical journalist and accomplished musician who dedicated his life to bringing joy and understanding to the world.
Since then, he has become an icon for all wishing to bridge East-West differences.

The Daniel Pearl Foundation was formed by Danny’s family and friends to continue his mission and to address the root causes of this tragedy in the spirit, style and principles that shaped Danny’s work and character. These principles include uncompromised objectivity and integrity; insightful and unconventional perspective; tolerance and respect for people of all cultures; unshaken belief in the effectiveness of education and communications; and the love of music, humor and friendship.

Every year around his October 10th birthday, musicians around the world join in “Harmony for Humanity” to honor Danny’s memory and the principles by which he lived. Since 2002, Daniel Pearl World Music Days has grown to include the participation of more than 11,000 performances in 129 countries.

We dedicate this concert to the spirit of Daniel Pearl and the World Music Days initiative, in the hopes that we will all recognize that we are here together on this planet, and to live in harmony and peace.
“There are two aspects of individual harmony: the harmony between body and soul, and the harmony between individuals. All the tragedy in the world, in the individual and in the multitude, comes from lack of harmony. And harmony is the best given by producing harmony in one’s own life. ”
― Hazrat Inayat Khan

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Announcements

Diane Moser’s Composers Big Band 18th Anniversary Concert! June 10th, 2015

photo by Dennis Connors
photo by Dennis Connors

Eighteen years ago, on January 29th, 1997, we had our first performance at Tierney’s Tavern in Montlcair. The photo to the left (courtesy of Dennis Connors) with Tom Colao on alto sax, Marty Fogel on tenor sax, guitarist Larry Maltz and myself in the background is from that residency, which ran from January 1997 to June 2003. We performed every last Wednesday of the month, played the music of our resident composers and the music of a myriad of guest composers; some who were from the area, some who came from further away including, England, Japan,and various parts of the states. One of those was guest composers was trumpet player Tom Wirtel , who drove all the way from central Illinois, during a snow storm, and picked up another trumpet player along the way…all for the music. We have been extraordinarily blessed to have such an amazing group of composers and performers come be our guests, all of which are listed on the DMOCBB page.

Erick Storckman
Erick Storckman

We have been in residence at Trumpets Jazz Club, Montclair, NJ since November 2003. We’ve also performed in many other venues and festivals along the way: 12 Miles West Theatre, Burgdorff Cultural Center, Montclair Public Library, New School for Jazz and Contemporary Music,Jersey Jazz by the Lake (the day after hurricane Floyd no less!), New Jersey Performing Arts Center, Lake George Jazz Weekend, and The Meadowlands Environmental Center.

Guests have included vocalists, instrumentalists, poets, spoken word, rappers, film makers, actors, and dancers! Recently we’ve invited young, emerging composers to join us such as Caleb Rumley, Sarah McDonald, Joe Vilardi, and Charlie Dougherty. We’ve really enjoyed working with these exciting young composers, and there will be more soon!

Elizabeth High School Jazz Band

We have another “first” for us this month, we are including the Elizabeth High School Upper Academy Jazz Band, directed by Wayne Dillon, in our celebration! These very talented youngsters will perform at 7PM. The Elizabeth HS Upper Academy Jazz band is made up of 20 students in the tenth through twelfth grades. The students audition in Sept and the band is created. The band placed second in 2010 at the NJAJE State championships in Div 1., and have won best trombone section twice. The band has earned superior ratings at music festivals for the past 10 years, and has just completed a 6 week jazz residency with Oscar Perez and Nuevo Comienza.

This month,we are featuring the music of our resident composers who are busily creating new works for the band including: Erick Storckman, Marty Fogel, Ed Xiques, Matt Haviland, Rob Middleton, Chris Rogers, Russ Vines and yours truly!

I also want to say a very special thank you to Natascha Radke Henke, who for many years was my co-conspirator in all Natasha3123DeSatCropresizedthings big band and Composers Forum of Montclair. Natascha moved to the states many years ago, married out trumpet player Rob Henke, and began helping me with graphic design, mailings, programs, collecting money at the door, helping guest artists find their way to the club and just being a great friend!

Elzy

Another thank you goes to our friend and wonderful jazz journalist Elzy Kolb. Elzy has written countless articles about us,helping to spread the word, and during my cancer crisis, was there, along with her husband Russ Vines, supporting and helping in every way possible! Also, a huge thank you to the many journalists who have covered us from the beginning: George Kanzler, who was the first journalist to really spread the word about us with countless articles in The Newark Star Ledger, and was an incredible supporter of the band. After George retired, Zan Stewart came in, and became a wonderful supporter of the band, writing many wonderful articles as well. A thank you to Jay Lustig, who helped spread the word at the Star Ledger, and now spreads the word on his own site, NJARTS.net.
A thank you to Jim Beckerman of The Record, Tony Mottola, editor of The New Jersey Jazz Society Journal, and Hot House Magazine, which from the very beginning, along with George Kanzler, has been an incredible supporter of the band. We also thank The Montclair Times, WBGO, Homegrown Radio and John Hammel, for their constant support over the years, and the many other journalist and radio stations who have interviewed us and helped immensely in reaching out to the public about the band.

andy
A big thank you to Andy Eulau, who is not only our bassist extraordinaire, he also created this website, and continues to help, maintain, and in general put out those hacker fires!

A huge thank you to the many audio engineers and photographers and film makers who have been documenting the band since 1997; Kevin Papa, Chris Drukker, Ryen Tetzloff, Curt Fissel, Bruce Hanson, and John Guth, who recorded our first and only CD, but has come in many times to record us live.

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And an extra huge thank you to Dennis Connors who has been documenting the band consistently since 1997, has taken hundreds of photographs, was one of the videographers on our first documentary, and has gone on to make many more films about us, which you can see on the video page.

Thanks to the many people who have been doing the door for us these last several years, Ariel Guidry and her sister, , John Albert Dubinsky, Dan Cassidy, and my son Chad Moser, who not only does the door, but also comes in and plays with us on turntables!

Thank you to Trumpets Jazz Club, Enrico Granafei, Kristine Massari, Judy De Angelis and all of their staff, for being so supportive and giving us a home!

And thank you to our wonderful audience members, you are like family to us, we always look forward to playing music for you, because you are so incredibly appreciative and supportive! Thank you one and all for your support through the years, we could not have done this without you!

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Announcements

Feb 25th Diane Moser’s Composers Big Band with guests Howard Johnson and Charlie Dougherty

Howard JohnsonOn Feb 25th at Trumpets Jazz Club, the CBB welcomes back the amazing tuba and bari sax virtuoso Howard Johnson and welcomes for the first time emerging composer Charlie Dougherty. Howard Johnson is universally known as the finest proponent of the jazz tuba. He has pioneered the jazz vocabulary for the tuba through his work with:Charles Mingus, Gil Evans,Archie Shepp, Buddy Rich, Oliver Nelson, Gerald Wilson, the Jazz Composers Orchestra, Miles Davis, Taj Mahal, John Lennon, Levon Helm and many, many more. He was the conductor for the Saturday Night Live band in the 1970’s and for 4 years he was associated with the NDR Big Band in Hamburg, Germany. Howard’s first appearance with the CBB was August 29th, 2001. Since then, he has been an ardent supporter of the band, coming in as guest soloist for many projects, and as guest composer for the May 2009 benefit concert for Diane Moser, during her recovery from GIST cancer. Check out this interview with Howard and hear about his life story from Liner Note Legends.

Charlie DoughertyOur second guest is Charlie Dougherty, bassist, composer/arranger, scholar, and educator in the New York City area. He is a co-founder and co-leader of Big Beat, a big band that blends jazz with soul and R&B music. Charlie’s performance experience is wide-ranging; he has performed at jazz festivals and with modern dance companies, and he has played everything from gospel music to the contemporary classical music of Louis Andriessen, Kyle Gann, and Judd Greenstein. As a composer/arranger, Charlie has written at the high school level and above for a variety of instrumentations, ranging from solo bass to saxophone ensemble to full big band. His writing experience includes arranging a piece for Joe Lovano and having a composition featured in a performance with the José Limón Dance Company.

Come on out of the cold and listen to an evening of great jazz music!

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Video

DMOCBB – A Sonic Party

A beautiful short documentary by film maker Dennis Connors that gives an inside look at Diane Moser’s Composers Big Band. Included are interviews from band members; Diane Moser, Erick Storckman, Andy Eulau, Jim Cifelli and Rob Henke, guest composer Howard Johnson, and audience member Dave Yennior, along with footage of rehearsals at Allwood Community Church, Clifton, NJ and live performances (2003-2010) at Trumpets Jazz Club in Montclair, NJ.

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Video

What Is This Thing Called Big Band?

A mini documentary on Diane Moser’s Composers Big Band with interviews of band members and composers, video by Ryen Tetzloff, Curt Fissell and Dennis Connors. Interviews by Elzy Kolb.

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Video

“Bits of Blue” by Dennis Connors


A beautiful film portrait of solos featuring Erick Storckman, Jim Cifelli, Andy Eulau, Barbara Cifelli, Scott Neumann, Matt Haviland and myself, from our resident photographer/film maker, Dennis Connors, who has been photographing and filming us since 1997.

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Video

“Bits of Blue”-part 2 by Dennis Connors


Our resident photographer and film maker, Dennis Connors, continues with part 2 of his beautiful film portrait of solos featuring Marty Fogel, Rob Middleton, Ed Xiques, Rob Henke, Ben Williams, Mike Spengler and yours truly. Dennis has been photographing the band since 1997, and filming the band since 2005. You can check out his amazing portfolio and body of work at dennisconnors.com.

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Video

“Run and Hide” Rob Henke-composer

“Run and Hide” by Rob Henke, performed by Diane Moser’s Composers Big Band at Trumpets Jazz Club in Montclair, New Jersey on October 22, 2014 on their Annual Peace Concert/Tribute to Daniel Pearl World Music Days. Featuring actors Rob Henke and Leese Walker. In the chorus (the bones) are Ben Williams, Erick Storckman, Matt Haviland, and Dennis Argul.Video by Dennis Connors.