August 2007 Convention
Albuquerque, NM

NFA Jazz Flute Big Band

To best describe the premiere performance at the Albuquerque convention, I’ve chosen to share a sample of comments from audience and band members.

Ali Ryerson

Ali Ryerson

“Ali Ryerson and the NFA Jazz Flute Big Band’s Saturday night debut was one of the highlights of the convention for many who attended. What a joy to see and hear this group of all-star jazz musicians performing a sparks-filled cabaret set! The audience was treated to solo after solo from some of our jazz greats. For me, this evening cabaret represented my over-riding vision for the Albuquerque convention—inclusion, sharing, generosity of spirit. Under the expert leadership of Ali Ryerson, the group rehearsed for hours during the convention itself to achieve the high level we were treated to on Saturday evening. Participant Keith Underwood, who later said he had a blast, mentioned to me that the learning curve was high, but that all involved were exhilarated and excited by the results. Brava to Ali and the entire group! Let’s hope that the NFA Jazz Flute Big Band becomes an NFA tradition!” — Nancy Andrew, 2007 Program Chair

“Your performance was one cabaret I did not want to miss, and when I came into the room packed with attendees, it made my heart feel so good. Being a big band singer myself, I could appreciate all the work that went into this performance. The charts were great and the group was swinging.” — Madeline Neumann, Convention Manager

“What a treat to hear the new Jazz Flute Big Band. They totally rocked the house! You could really feel the electricity as they created excitement for the 2009 Jazz Flute Big Band Competition.” —Lori Akins, Assistant Secretary

“A sonic delight! It's the real thing! I was blown away at the level of jazz solo playing and how the big band sound was represented with integrity.” —Amy Porter, NFA Board of Directors

“The ensemble playing was tight, the rhythm section was swingin’, the soloists were all hot, and the arrangements superb. As the creator of a flute band myself (Tutti Flutti) some 25 years ago, I can appreciate all of the color possibilities and choices of function, and in this pure jazz/big-band idiom you have all pulled it off smartly and with lots of style. YO!!” — Steve Kujala

“Ali Ryerson invited artists from all parts of the country and all areas of the jazz flute world to come together for one historic night. The result of this collaboration was nothing less than breathtaking. It firmly established the viability of the jazz flute big band as a performance category with enormous popular appeal and tremendous potential for future exploration. There is a tremendous need for this performance genre among jazz flutists.” — Saïs Kamalidiin, Ph.D.

“There was so much camaraderie, support, and mutual respect among all the members. The charts were interesting and varied, providing fun challenges with the reading material and the improvisational sections. It was a wonderful experience, one I will always remember.” — Jill Allen

“What a privilege it was to play with everyone. And what a great rhythm section!” — Lisa Nichols

“Several music teachers who spoke to me about the Jazz Flute Big Band performance commented on their desire to incorporate flute into school jazz ensembles, based on what they heard at the concert. Letting band directors know that flute is a legitimate jazz instrument was just another benefit of having the performance at the NFA Convention!” — Holly Hofmann

“Being on stage with so many wonderful jazz flutists was quite a thrill.” — Jennifer Cole

“There were no egos on the band. Everyone worked together as a team.” — Dave Anderson

“It was so exciting to be in the flute big band, and an honor to be playing with such fantastic players. It was an experience that I won't soon forget!” — Donna Sevcovic

“I was amazed at the level of talent, from the world class rhythm section to all the individual players. There were so many levels of ability, yet everyone was open, friendly, and accepting. I felt comfortable, like family. There were generous opportunities to solo. After all, that’s the fun and the reason for playing jazz—to improvise.” — Kris Keith

Sincere thanks are due everyone whose efforts made the Jazz Flute Big Band a reality. We can now all look forward to the first biennial Jazz Flute Big Band competition in New York in 2009!

—Ali Ryerson, Leader/NFA Jazz Flute Big Band; NFA Jazz Chair