Tuesday, September 18, 2007
Yahoo LAUNCHCAST Song Of The Day-The Thad Jones-Mel Lewis Jazz Orchestra
Artist:The Thad Jones-Mel Lewis Jazz Orchestra
Song:Tow Away Zone
Album:Central Park North
Big bands were not in vogue in the 60s so the longevity of the Thad Jones-Mel Lewis Jazz Orchestra was somewhat surprising especially since it was always a part time group. Flugelhornist Thad Jones was born Mar. 28, 1923 in Pontiac, MI. He bacame known for his work with Count Basie in the 50s. Drummer Mel Lewis was born May 10, 1929 in Buffalo. He became known for his work with Stan Kenton in the 50s. By the mid 60s both guys were session musicians. They decided to form a band and play every Monday night at the Village Vanguard in New York starting in 1966. Jones did most of the composing and conducting and over the next decade the band attracted some great musicians. They recorded several albums for the Solid State label including Central Park North in 1969. The great pianist Roland Hanna was a regular with this group along with bassist Richard Davis. These guys are world class musicians. Others include Joe Farrell & Eddie Daniels on sax, Jimmy Knepper on trombone and Snooky Young on trumpet. The band continued to record until Jones left and moved to Denmark in 1978. Lewis continued to lead the band until he took over the Count Basie Orchestra in 1984. Thad Jones died on Aug. 20, 1986 at age 63. Mel Lewis died on Feb. 2, 1990 at age 60. Here's The Thad Jones-Mel Lewis Jazz Orchestra performing Groove Merchant in 1969 featuring Roland Hanna & Richard Davis.