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Sunday, February 6, 2022

The Newport Youth Band - Marshall Brown


The Younger Generation

The Newport Youth Band
Under The Direction Of Marshall Brown
Coral Stereo CRL 757298


Bill Vaccaro, 18
Richie Margolin, 18
Charlie Miller, 17
Harry Hail, 17
Alan Rubin, 16

Alto Saxophones:
Andy Marsala, 16 
Larry Morton, 15

Bariton Saxophone:
Ronnie Cuber, 16

Benny Jacobs, 18
Chip Hoehler, 17
Asley Fennell, 17
Jay Sherman, 18

Tenor Saxophones:
Mike Citron, 18
Danny Megna, 14

Mike Abene, 16

Jerry Friedman, 16

Herb Mickman, 18

Larry Rosen, 18

From the back cover:  It was refreshing, totally engrossing and encouraging to hear the Farmingdale High School Band at the Newport Jazz Festival in 1957. Kids playing modern jazz arrangements with crackling percussion and improvising in a praiseworthy fashion, obviously awarenesses of the basics of the music, was a novelty. The musical press had "a ball" writing glowing accounts of the event; the large circulation magazines sensed that news value and importance of this memorable afternoon, and ran stories on the band's triumph. Everyone was charmed by these young people who played jazz so well.

For me, anyway, the success of the Farmingdal Band was indicative of something bigger and more important. That basic disciplines applicable in other educational situations are equally relative to the learning and playing of jazz; that "blowing", to use the jazz argot, is not a mystical, completely emotional matter; and that the creative work, so integral to jazz, could be the product of enlightened instruction. It was a beginning for band director Marshall Brown.

"I have always believed that jazz could be taught to our youth in the school systems," say Brown. "If the instructor comes from jazz, is sufficiently interested and enthusiastic, and above all, systematic, the essentials of jazz-phrasing, improvisation, swinging-can be communicated to his students."

A man of many musical interests, 38-year-old Marshall Brown has run, kicked and passed all over the musical field. He has tried a little of everything from playing and arranging for a number of bands to extending himself into the song-writing and jingle field; from composing for television to playing jazz with small bands. And for all the satisfaction, financial and otherwise, derived from this variety of musical activities over the years, Brown, as Dom Cerulli has noted "...been, through all his various musical careers, first and always a teacher of music in general... and jazz in particular."

How did Brown become a teacher and why?

He returned from the service in 1945 and decided to study under the G.I. Bill at New York University, receiving his Bachelor of Arts Degree in 1949. All the while, he was playing, and writing arrangements for band in and around town. On the recommendation of a professor at NYU, he was offered and accepted, a post as assistant band director at East Rockaway High School in Long Island. His interest in teaching mushroomed; working with young people felt right to him. He began to dabble in jazz instruction.

In 1951, Dr. Finnessey, the supervisor of schools in Farmingdale, Long Island, asked Brown to join the faculty at Farmingdale High, giving him carte blanche. By 1952, the Farmingdale Band had been formed. In 1955, "Canteen Dance", the first record by the unit was cut. The ever-aware Willis Conover of The Voice Of America brought it to the attention of the Newport Jazz Festival people, and the rest, to use an overworked descriptive, is history.

With the success of the Brown-led Farmingdale Band at Newport in '57, the seeds where planted for what, in 1959, would be the Newport Youth Band. In between then and now, Brown was commissioned by the Newport Jazz Festival Board to put together an "international band" whose members would be culled from 17 countries of Eastern and Western Europe. The result was a provocative presentation at Freebody Park in that Rhode Island community.

While visiting with George Wein at his Storyville Club in Cape Cod, following the 1958 Festival, Brown and Wein drew up the prospectus for the Newport Youth Band. Wein, the Festival's producer, had decided to set up an educational program for Newport, and this was to be a part of it. The band, composed of teen-agers, rather than being a project for just one Festival, would continue indefinitely and become a permanent part of the Festival setup. The plan: when members of the basic first band graduated (age-span 14 to 18), they would be replaced by other deserving teen-agers.

New York was selected as the center from which the talent would be drawn. Brown has his base of operations in the "big town", and the band would, in contrast to the International Band, be able to rehearse for nearly six months prior to their appearance at Newport, Posters were given to schools around the city announcing auditions for September, 1958. Six hundred kids turned out; the result, the band was on record... and a long waiting list of musicians who can jump in at a minute's notice.

After the band was formed, Brown began rehearsing it weekends in the auditorium of The Professional Children's School in New York (made available with the help of John Hammond), perferring this to the typical rehearsal hall atmosphere. He also initiated special section rehearsals at his home on certain nights during the week. This schedule has continued up to this day.

John La Porta, ex-lead saxophonist in the first and greatest of all Woody Herman Herds, volunteered early in the band's existence to coach its reed section. Brass coach, Lou Mucci, a veteran of many "name" orks, including Claude Thornhill, Glenn Miller and Benny Goodman, has been a great help, for hie is unstinting in giving of his time and knowledge. Many top arranger-composers i.e. – Ernie Wilkins, Quincy Jones, John La Porta, Bill Russo – have brought their work in for the band to play and many of their compositions/arrangements have been retained for its library.

At Carnegie Hall on March 15, 1959, the Newport Youth Band made its public debut and followed this with a presentation at the Jazz Jubilee in Washington, D. C. On both occasions, it was warmly received.

Relative to the band's policy, Brown revealed: "The Youth Band is not limiting itself to any one type r style of jazz. Variety is the key-note of our library. Our book includes jazz of every kind, representing the great big-band literature of the past 20 years. Recently, I sent out questionnaires to leading jazz writers and critics regarding repertoire. The recorded arrangements and originals that got the largest number of votes are now being copied for our use. The hundreds of different compositions which turned top in the poll will be used for reference purposes in the future.

"I believe it is very important that the young musician be able to play and understand all of jazz. If the Newport Youth Band is able to play music all along the jazz scale, it will be serving itself and its listeners."

This album provides testimony to bear out Brown's declaration. A few examples – in the Lunceford style, we have Let's Fall In Love; for the more contemporary-modern jazz fans, there's The Younger Generation by John La Porta; and in what Brown deems the "neo-Henderson idiom", his own composition, Dateline Newport.

I believe this album will surprise the average listener. Many people have a preconceived notion concerning teen-age musicians. It is generally thought that they must necessarily be immature and inferior to their older counterparts. This is certainly not the case here.

"This band shows," Brown pointed out to Leonard Feather in a recent article in Compact Magazine, "how you can take ordinary American youths and make top talents out of them. After we've kept the band going for a few years, with four or five changes of personnel each year, I hope this will become a sort of farm team for the big leagues. Within a decade perhaps one-third of all the top jazz men in the United States may be alumni of this orchestra." – Burt Korall

The Younger Generation
Composer-Arranger: John La Porta
Solos: Andy Marsala, alto sax; Mike Abene, piano

You Don't Know What Love Is
Composers: Don Raye, Gene DePaul
Arranger: Arif Mardin
Solo: Alan Rubin, trumpet

Dateline Newport
Composer-Arranger: Marshall Brown
Solos: Mike Citron, tenor sax; Harry Hall, trumpet

Let's Fall In Love
Composers; Ted Koehler, Harold Arlen
Arranger: Sy Oliver
Solos: Mike Abene, piano; Ronnie Cuber, baritone sax; Andy Marsala, alto sax; Alan Rubin, trumpet; Jay Shanman, trombone

Serenade For Katy
Composer: Al Cohn
Arranger: Palie Bolvig
Solos: Benny Jacobs-El, trombone; Mike Abene, piano

Loverman (Oh Where Can You Be?)
Composers: Jimmy Davis, Roger "Ram" Ramirez, Jimmy Sherman
Arranger: Parlie Bolvig
Solo: Andy Marsala, alto sax

Serious Business
Composer-Arranger: Ernie Wilkins
Solos: Andy Marsala, alto sax; Mike Abene, piano 

Come Rain Or Come Shine
Composers: Johnny Mercer, Harold Arien
Arranger: Adolphe Sandole
Solos: Benny Jacobs-El, trombone; Mike Citron, tenor sax

Composer-Arranger: Ernie Wilkins
Solos: Harry Hall, trumpet; Ronnie Cuber, baritone sax; Mike Abene, piano

Studio 50
Composer-Arranger: Ernie Wilkins
Solos: Mike Citron, tenor saxophone; Harry Hall, trumpet; Benny Jacobs-El, trombone

Pennies From Heaven
Composers: John Burke, Arthur Johnston
Arranger: John La Porta
Solo: Benny Jacobs-El, trombone

Fugue For Jazz Orchestra
Composer-Arranger: William Russo

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