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Podcast: Trombonist John Yao Runs a 17 Piece Big (Avante Garde) Band



I was introduced to John Yao, in a cyber sense, by Matt Panayides, a tremendous jazz guitarist whom I’ve had the pleasure of interviewing a couple of times.

Yao is a trombone player who leads a 17 piece band that combines big band and avante garde jazz. It’s as interesting and unique as it sounds.

Yao is running a Kickstarter campaign. The goal is to raise enough money to support three appearances late this year and in early 2016 in the city. Check out his website. The Kickstarter campaign is here.

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Reading Music

The stories of the great bands and musicians are fascinating. Musicians as a group are brilliant, but often troubled. The combination of creativity and drama makes for great reading.

Here are some books to check out.

Duke Ellington brought class, sophistication and style to jazz which, until that point, was proudly unpolished and raucous. His story is profound. The author, Terry Teachout, also wrote "Pops," the acclaimed bio of Louis Armstrong. Click here or on the image.


What else is there to say? Here is the story behind every song written by The Beatles. Click here or on the image.


The Grateful Dead don't get enough credit for the profound nature of its lyrics. Many of the band's songs are driven by a deep and literate Americana ("I'm Uncle Sam/That's who I am/Been hidin' out/In a rock and roll band" and "Majordomo Billy Bojangles/Sit down and have a drink with me/What's this about Alabama/Keeps comin' back to me?").

David Dodd's exhaustive study tells the story, song by song. Click here or on the image.