Saturday, January 08, 2011

Brooks Tegler: Tribute to Gene Krupa

Brooks Tegler: Tribute to Gene Krupa (English) Brooks Tegler: Een eerbetoon aan Gene Krupa ( Nederlands)

That's It and (un)Common Denominator
Hans Koert

Later this week a concert has been scheduled in Breda, entitled “PASSPORT TO PARADISE”, subtitled When Sidney Bechet meets Gene Krupa with a quintet featuring the French soprano saxophone player Oliver Franc, US drummer Brooks Tegler, reed player Robert Veen, pianist Joep Peeters and bass player Richard Frijters. As the subtitle suggests the concert will be dedicated to the music of Sidney Bechet and Gene Krupa.
The US drummer Brooks Tegler released recently two great albums : That's It!, featuring the Brooks Tegler Big Band and (un)Common Denominator with the Brooks Tegler (small) Groups: two great albums, dedicated to the music of the 1930s and 1940s.

Brooks Tegler ( source;

Brooks Tegler is a sought after accompanist in bands that play the music of the 1930s and 1940s. Born in 1954 he is too young to have heard this music played live during that period, but thanks to his fascination for the Second World War he knows all ins and outs from that period.

The Brooks Tegler Big Band - That's It ( MNG 899)

As a drummer he became fascinated by great swing drummers like Buddy Rich and Gene Krupa. Especially the latter inspired him: That's because of the man himself and the things he did for the music, he said in an interview with Marc Myers, who wrote the liner notes for the Small Groups album. Gene had incredible time and knew his job. .. He loved what he played. It came through. His personality and drumming style were linked. And when he played in a big band he was not only keeping time, but he also played the melody ..... You actually hear the songs melody in what he's playing. He was one of the most melodic big band player from the 1930s on up. One of the tracks in the Brooks Tegler Big Band album That's It is called Gypsy Mood is dedicated to him. Gene recorded it with his orchestra exactly 66 years ago (January 1945), but when Brooks plays it ( he can be heard in a great solo) with his Big Band it still swings like hell as you might expect from a Big Band of that period. And that's exactly what you can expect from both albums - What we're doing is paying tribute to the way these bands played, not trying to sound like them.

The Brooks Tegler (small) Groups: (un)Common Denominator (nn)
In the Big Bands album you can find tunes played by all great band leaders of the 1930s and 1940s, like Count Basie ( like Sweetie Cakes and John's Idea),
Duke Ellington ( Hiya Sue, Jack The Bear and Such Sweet Thunder), Benny Goodman ( If Dreams Come true), Artie Shaw ( The Gilder) and Glenn Miller. The latter is one of Brooks favourite band leaders of the 1940s. The rather unknown tune Snafu Jump is Brooks favourite and you won't be surprised that it is one of the tracks on this album. Last year Brooks played tribute to Glenn Miller at the Calhoun High School with a 17-piece big band, dressed like the original Glenn Miller Army Air Force Band: My drum set was a precise replica of McKinley's, he told Marc Myers.

The tune Slow Feight is dedicated to Benny Carter, who recorded it in 1940 with, to name one, tenor saxophonist Coleman Hawkins. Benny Carter is the (un)common denominator, the alto saxophonist ( and trumpet player), to whom the "small groups" album is dedicated. This album plays the music of the so-called Bands-in-a-Band. The great band leaders, like Benny Goodman, Artie Shaw, Woody Herman and Tommy Dorsey, created small groups with regular band members to play between the sets with the big band. Thanks to these groups, Benny Goodman Quartet, Gramercy Five (by Artie Shaw), Woody Herman's Woodchoppers and the Clambake Seven of Tommy Dorsey, the members of those small groups could present themselves to the audience.
The small groups, by contrast, were created so audiences could dig each player. They also were probably created so bandleaders could keep their stars happy and hold onto them longer.
The Small Groups album
contains 15 tracks and contains rare heard tunes like Pam or Opus 1/2, with a great contribution by the Midiri-brothers on vibes and clarinet, but also well known standard like Frenesi and Harlem, a track which contains two tunes dedicated to Harlem: the first as played by Duke Ellington and recorded as Drop Me Off in Harlem and the second one as the 1936 Chick Webb Go Harlem record.

Passport to Paradise, the concert to be scheduled the 13th of January, wants to play tribute to Gene Krupa and both records reviewed here, learn that Brooks Tegler is the right man to do that job.

The other members of this session group are well known to most of the visitors of the Keep Swinging blog. Robert Veen, Joep Peeters and Richard Frijters took part of the Homage to Django concert a few months ago in Dongen, a village near Breda, in the south of The Netherlands. All five musicians know each other from precious occasions. Robert Veen and Brooks Tegler recently released a great album entitled Three Men In A Beat, dedicated to the famous Jazz Trios and Brooks Tegler was a regular guest at the Oude Stijl Jazz Festivals in Breda. Oliver Franc Trio : f.l.t.r.: Daniel Bechet ( the son of .. ..) -(unknown kid) - Jean-Baptiste Franc and Oliver Franc (Copenhagen, July, 2005) (photo courtesy: Hans Koert)

In the summer of 2005 I joined the IAJRC Convention in Copenhagen in summer during its Jazz Festival week and in the shopping streets ordinary street bands played to entertain the public and of course, to promote the festival. One of those bands was not a dime a dozen ........ I stopped and listened and became fascinated by its music ......... It had me by my short hairs. It was Olivier Franc on clarinet, with his trio, featuring Jean-Baptiste Franc on piano and Gérard Couderg on drums. So, I'm sure, Oliver Franc will play a great tribute to Bechet too .............

Both albums, The Brooks Tegler Big Band - That's It
and The Brooks Tegler (small) Groups - (Un)common Denominator can be ordered at CDBaby

You can find here more info about his concerts in Breda, Ghent and Delft at the Keep Swinging newsletter!

Hans Koert

Brooks Tegler is inspired by the sound of the great big band drummers, like Gene Krupa. He recently released two albums, one with compositions of the 1930s and 1940s swing big bands and a second one dedicated to the Bands-in-a-bands, the smaller groups, that allowed the members of the band to present themselves. Brooks Tegler will join a concert this week dedicated to his great hero on the drums, Gene Krupa and the New Orleans clarinet player Sidney Bechet: Passport to Paradise. The Keep Swinging blog listened to the two Brooks Tegler albums That's It and (un) Common Denominator. If you like this kind of music and you won't miss any contribution, follow it at Twitter or ask for its free newsletter.

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