Speak No Evil Jazz blog

Capital Public Radio's discussion of an art form born in America and celebrated worldwide.


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Mellowing The Big Band: Alan Broadbent's America The Beautiful


At Capital Public Radio, we’re very selective in programming large jazz ensembles. Research suggests big bands often sound too brassy, too aggressive, and therefore out of sync with the sound we carefully cultivate.

Leave it to veteran pianist Alan Broadbent to make a big band sound harmonically like a smaller ensemble, showing both great elegance and clarity in sound as well as great sensitivity to the various soloists.

On his new CD, “America the Beautiful,” Alan was commissioned to arrange nine of his classic compositions for the NDR Big Band, an all star super-band from Hamburg, Germany. Alan’s originals such as “Covenant,” “Love In Silent Amber,” and “Mendocino Nights” are transcendent compositions that take the listener on a relaxing journey.

The New Zealand-born Broadbent is no stranger to the big band milieu, having served as Woody Herman’s pianist and arranger from ’69 – ’72. More recently, Alan was asked to be part of Natalie Cole’s “Unforgettable” CD. He also conducted orchestral concerts for Diana Krall and he wrote six-string arrangements for Paul McCartney’s Grammy winning “Kisses on the Bottom.”

Alan also worked with Charlie Haden’s Quartet West, and released 15 smaller band efforts under his own name. We are delighted, however, that Alan returned here to his big band roots to share his compositional and arrangement prowess with a band of commensurate talent.

Listen for “America the Beautiful,”, now in heavy rotation on Excellence In Jazz (7 – 11 pm weeknights & Sunday) and 24/7 on www. JazzStream.org.


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