U.S. Army Jazz Ambassadors Band SWINGS!
The U.S. Army Jazz Ambassadors
Army Field Band
During the wonderful gathering of jazz musicians to the March Mecca in Berks County (also known as Berks Jazz Fest), one of the regularly scheduled concerts is by one of the an armed forces bands. Some years, it is the Army Jazz Ambassadors, one of the four performing units of the United States Army Field Band. This tight group of twenty musicians and four roadies pitched an intense, high energy concert.
Professionalism? Technical competence? They’ve got it. For example, if the score contained alternate double-dotted eighth notes with thirty-second rests, believe me, with this band you would hear the space between each sounded note. Also, their interpretive and expressive skills are evident, although sometimes a little too controlled.
Each member of the ensemble is headliner proficiency, so all solos are a real treat to hear. The drummer is worthy of special mention – often leading off a number, he is a perpetual energy machine and great fun to watch. Also fun to watch were some of the more emotionally expressive band members, with their feet briskly tapping and their faces beaming their delight in the music being made.
The program I saw covered a variety of the jazz genres and eras, from “I’ll Be Seeing You” to a jazz treatment of “Rainy Days and Mondays.” I must confess that my favorites for the program were both Mary Lou Williams tunes: “Big Jim Blues” and “Rosa Mae.”
The band’s music director/MC mentioned their website which includes links for legal downloads to some of the night’s tunes and many others. I also appreciate its links to the other military service concert bands. It’s worth checking at www.armyfieldband.com.
If this band rolls into your area, they’ll provide a stimulating night out.
Text copyright 2011 Maren Morgan
More by this Author
For five years, every Sunday night at 5531 Germantown Avenue, Phila, a vigorous synthesis of jazz arranging, improvising & playing was the order of the evening at the LaRose Club Jam in Germantown.
A list of some of the jazz jam sessions in Philadelphia and the greater Philly area (in Pennsylvania only.) Keeping track of changes is hard, but phone numbers and cover charges are included when possible.
8 great thrift stores along Route 422 in Lebanon, PA. Addresses, phone, hours, maps, and more info given.