Visit any metropolitan area and you are sure to find at least one rehearsal band – a group of jazz musicians that get together on a regular basis to play big-band arrangements of popular jazz tunes. Some places like New York City boast dozens of such groups. Usually, one individual, someone who has accumulated some music, often copied from another band’s book or transcribed from a commercial recording, organizes a rehearsal band. Occasionally the organizer is a composer/arranger whose sole desire is to play the music that they themselves write.
For players who are also writers, joining a typical rehearsal band can be a frustrating experience. Most bands play what the leader wants while the other players are apt to prefer their old favorites. Player/writers who bring new music to a rehearsal are often given a chilly reception. The leader may agree to read through a new work, but will rarely spend rehearsal time trying to polish the performance.
So it was that in October 2005 three frustrated player-writers from the New York metro area, Larry Puentes, Richard Reiter, and Mike Treni, got together to discuss the formation of a new kind of rehearsal band, one created specifically to meet the needs of player/writers. Appropriately the group was named “Jazz Composers’ Workshop Orchestra.”
JCWO began rehearsing in January 2006. During its first two years of existence the band recorded a CD featuring the music of Mike Treni, played in area jazz clubs, and most importantly provided a “composers’ workshop” for its member-players. Dozens of new pieces were created during this period of time.
Now beginning its third year, JCWO is pleased to release this, its second CD – one featuring new work from five of its writers.
Unity (composed & arranged by Michael Treni)
Awhile (composed & arranged by Michael Treni)
Free Cell (composed & arranged by Larry Puentes)
Fast Feet (composed & arranged by Richard Reiter)
My Funny Valentine (arranged by Michael Treni)
But Not for Me (arranged by Mike Ponella)
Philthy Bone Jones(comp/arr by Larry Puentes)
King of Cancun (composed/arranged by Mike Ponella)
Funk Light (composed & arranged by Richard Reiter)
Stealing Fire (composed & arranged by Bill Ash)
Forward Motion (composed & arranged by Mike Treni)
Willie’s Waltz (composed/arranged by Larry Puentes)
Jazz Composer’s Workshop Orchestra Personnel
Sal Spicola (alto sax, flute), Gerry Niewood (alto sax, flute), Frank Elmo (tenor sax), Larry Puentes (tenor sax, flute, clarinet), Richard Reiter (tenor sax, flute, clarinet), Roy Nicolosi (bari sax, bass clarinet, flute)
Bill Ash, Kevin Bryan, Vinnie Cutro, Mike Ponella (trumpets)
Steve Austin, Matt Bilyk, Philip Jones, Conrad Zulauf (trombones)
Charles Blenzig, Mitch Schechter (piano), Takashi Otsuko (bass), Ron Vincent (drums)