Big Boss Tenor
'The Austin Jazz Workshop may have the most important gig in town: bringing jazz into area public schools. Big Boss Tenor is a culmination of their 11th season, which celebrated Tough Texas Tenors; in this instance, the long horns belong to AJW mastermind Mike Melinger and the ubiquitous Alex Coke. The two saxophonists have complementary styles, Melinger offering a creamy, burnished sound to Coke's sharper-toned and craggier delivery. Culled from three live dates employing varying rhythm sections, this is the fourth disc under the AJW aegis. It's also the first to feature all original compositions, most by either Melinger or Coke. These compositions, the same ones performed in the schools, are a huge part of the album's success, offering a wide stylistic palette ranging from the Brazilian bounce of 'Big Tenor Bossa' and bluesy swagger of 'Imperial Twilight' to South Africa-meets-Far East swing of 'Pool Hall in Bangkok.' Pianist Shawn Ellison even draws a clever Allman Brothers connection from the latter. Were these tunes more succinct, Big Boss Tenor might inhabit it's title better, but this is a strong offering nonetheless, and one our children are fortunately getting the opportunity to hear in person.' --Jay Trachtenberg, Austin Chronicle 1/26/06 What in the world is the Austin Jazz Workshop? We are a nonprofit group of professional musicians dedicated to jazz performance and education for young people in central Texas public schools. Since 1994, the group has performed over 700 assemblies and 2,000 classroom workshops, receiving exuberant praise from teachers, students, and administrators across five school districts. Our goal is to introduce children to all kinds of jazz in a fun and informative manner, and to encourage them to pick up instruments and become active participants in music-making. The music is not kid stuff, though! We work with the top musicians in central Texas-Grammy-winning artists who have toured and recorded with industry names like Ray Charles, Doug Sahm, Ella Fitzgerald, and others. By night, these musicians are much in demand as performers and recording artists. By day, they find time to bring this innovative project into the public schools where it is has been warmly received for a dozen years. The AJW is delighted to announce the release of our fourth compact disc recording, Big Boss Tenor (October 2005). This is our first disc to exclusively feature original compositions written by band members, including Alex Coke, Glenn Rexach, Shawn Ellison, and Michael Melinger. The CD was recorded live at three performances between October 2004 and May 2005. Big Boss Tenor features Alex Coke and Michael Melinger on saxophones, Glenn Rexach on guitar, Shawn Ellison on keyboard, Rick Glascock on vibraphone, Ernie Durawa and Kenny Felton on drums, and Jim Spector, Glenn Schuetz, and Brad Taylor on bass. It is an adventurous outing featuring a variety of compositional styles and spirited improvising from all players. We hope you enjoy Big Boss Tenor! Please be sure to check out other AJW recordings available here at CD Baby: Anything Goes: Austin Jazz Workshop Plays Cole Porter (July 2003). Nine Porter classics arranged for six-piece band, featuring the extraordinary vocalist Mady Kaye. Basin Street Stomp (February 2002). New Orleans front-line of sax/clarinet, trumpet, trombone, and tuba, with piano and drums. Featuring music of Jelly Roll Morton, Louis Armstrong, Scott Joplin, and other great jazz pioneers. Money raised from the sale of AJW CD's is dedicated to furthering our school outreach program.