I was sorry to learn of the death of Jeff Healey, 41, March in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Healey, blind since childhood, was an accomplished vocalist, guitarist, cornetist and trombonist, plus a leader of the Jazz Wizards and award-winning rock-and-roll bands. In the December RAG, I reviewed three of his jazz CDs, and I enjoyed listening to all three of them. He will be missed in Canada, where he was admired by his many fans, and elsewhere in the world.
On March 4, Jazz at Lincoln Center, New York City, announced the 15 high school jazz band finalists for the 13th Annual Essentially Ellington Competition and Festival to be held at Frederick P. Fisher Hall, Jazz at Lincoln Center (JALC), from May 15 to 17. Eighty-two bands entered the competition, each submitting a recording of three Duke Ellington compositions. New England jazz bands chosen were from William H. Hall High School, West Hartford, Conn., and Medfield High School, Medfield, Mass.
The bands will compete and participate in workshops, jam sessions, etc., during the three-day festival. The top-placing bands will perform with guest trumpet soloist Wynton Marsalis, Director of JALC, followed by a performance of the 15-piece JALC Orchestra, the members of which will serve as mentors for the finalist bands during the weekend. There will also be awards for the outstanding soloists, sections and the top three bands. Call (212) 721-6500 or check www.jalc.org for additional details concern-ing the festival.
Among the winners of the Essentially Ellington Student Essay Contest were Lina A. Colucci, Lexington High School, Lexington, Mass., second place, and Emily A. Pecoraro, Guilford High School, Guilford, Conn., third place. Fifty-three essays were received from students across the United States and Canada.
On March 6, Stan McDonald's Blue Horizon Five performed at Ma Glockner's Restaurant, Bellingham, Mass. McDonald played the soprano saxophone and clarinet, and the other quintet members were trumpeter/cornetist Jeff Hughes; guitarist Royce Anderson; string bassist Al Ehrenfried and drummer Richard Malcolm. The group plays at Ma Glockner's, 151 South Maple Street, Bellingham, 7-9 p.m. the first Thursday of the month. Call (508) 966-1085 for details and reservations.
On March 21, pianist Philippe LeJeune, from Toulouse, France, appeared with his Boogie Woogie Jazz and Blues Quartet at the Parish Center for the Arts, Westford, Mass. It was LeJeune's fifth visit to New England and his third to the Lowell, Mass., area. Working with LeJeune were guest guitarist Dominique Lambrey, from Toulouse, and, from Lowell, string bassist Herman Hampton, an assistant professor at the Berklee College of Music, Boston, and drummer Stanley Swann, a summer program instructor at Berklee.
On March 30, Doctor John Clark's Wolverine Jazz Band, with the Mood Elevators, a female vocal trio, performed at the Amazing Things Arts Center in its new firehouse venue in Framingham, Mass. On April 4, the WJB, without trombonist Tom Boates, who was otherwise engaged, but with guest reedman Noel Kaletsky, were featured at the Sherborn Inn, Sherborn, Mass.
The WJB Quartet (not a trio as previously reported) performed March 15 at Goff Memorial Hall, Rehoboth, Mass. With reedman Clark were trumpeter Jeff Hughes, pianist Ross Petot and guest Bob Barta on banjo and vocals.
John Clark appeared March 29 with Tom Goux, who played swing Hawaiian guitar and sang, at Johnson String Instrument, Falmouth, Cape Cod, Mass. Clark tells me that Goux is known to Cape Cod audiences as leader of the vocal jazz ensemble Notescape and for his work with historical music and maritime heritage material. He has recorded for both the Smithsonian Folkways and the Whaling City Sound labels and has contributed musical segments for the Public Broadcasting Service and National Geographic media productions.
Recent activities at the Sherborn Inn included appearances of La Creme with vocalist Molly Malone March 11; Stan McDonald's Blue Horizon Jazz Band March 18; and Jeff Hughes' Lost in the Sauce March 25.
The longtime Friday night swing sessions at Swing City at Bishop MacKenzie Center, Newton Centre, Mass., came to an end March 14 with fine swing music from reedman Craig Ball's White Heat Swing Orchestra playing for the many swing dancers.
Pianist/vocalist Paul Broadnax, bassist Peter Kontrimas and drummer Les Harris, Jr., are now appearing for jazz brunches on Sundays, 12-2 p.m., at the Acton Jazz Cafe, 452 Great Road (Routes 2A and 119), Acton, Mass. Additional details can be obtained from (978) 263-6161.
In Connecticut, cornetist Fred Vigorito's Galvanized Jazz Band played March 9 at the Beachhead Restaurant, East Haven. It was the band's only public performance in March. On April 6, GJB, with trombonist Neil DeFeo and Sarah Spencer on tenor sax and vocals, appeared at Marisa's Restaurant in Trumbull.
On April 20, Vigorito, pianist Bill Sinclair, banjoist Joel Schiavone and bassist Steve Bulmer will make a special appearance, beginning at 7 p.m. (doors open at 6:30 p.m.) at Chow (previously reported to me as Ciao), 964 Chapel Street, New Haven, Conn. The show is titled "The 1940s Radio Hour." Call (203) 772-3002 for details and reservations.
Bill Logozzo's Heartbeat Jazz Band with guest trombonist Skip Hughes was at Oliver's in Essex, Conn., on March 6 and April 3. Check www.heartbeatjazzband.net for information on the band and how to order CDs.
Pianist/vocalist Jeff Barnhart and bassist Scott Kahn were featured on St. Patrick's Day (March 17) at Bill's Seafood, Wallingford, Conn.
Trombonist Jim Fryer and the Usual Suspects will perform at the Silvermine Tavern, Norwalk, Conn., on May 23.
If you have news of traditional jazz, swing or ragtime in New England, please e-mail me at email@example.com or call me at (781) 762-9344. I'd like to learn more about what is happening in Rhode Island, New Hampshire, Maine, and Vermont.