August 2009 Convention
New York, NY

Jazz Flute Big Band in Concert (Ryerson)

The NFA Jazz Flute Big Band drew a SRO crowd during its two-hour concert. Thirty flutists plus rhythm section (Mike Wofford, piano; Mary Ann McSweeney, bass; Alvester Garnett, drums; special guest Bill Cunliffe, piano) gave a truly inspired performance. Joined by three very special guests—Hubert Laws, Holly Hofmann, and Lew Tabackin—the JFBB, featuring its soloists and arrangements, were the stars of the evening.

Interactive Roundtable Discussion

The NFA Jazz Flute Big Band

Many of the band members wrote me afterwards. Some of their words best describe the experience, from rehearsal through performance.

“The Jazz Flute Big Band has truly been an awesome experience. As a young artist, it helped me learn to play and communicate with some jazz greats. I'll never forget playing in this group—not only was it extremely cool, but it showed how high the bar can be for jazz flute.” —Rachel Rodgers (14)

“As promised it was a great experience! I was sad to see it all end.” —John Paul Croarkin

“It was the funnest night of my life. I will try again in (two) years!!” —Zachary Kellogg (12)

“Saturday was some of the most fun I’ve ever had playing, and is an evening I will remember for a very long time.” —Richard Ford

“It was one of the best experiences I have ever had!” —Enrique Mendez (18)

“What a blast, I loved it! Amazing solos; the energy & vibe were totally happening! This was so inspiring for me.” —Pam Sklar

“Saturday night was a huge rush for me—as it was for us all. The big band experience has been extremely validating, motivating, and inspiring.” —Jonathan Royce

“It was an awesome show. Looking forward to the next time!” —Bryan Kennard

“I had a wonderful time last week. It was so nice to meet and play with so many fine players. I look forward to the next time!” —Bob Chadwick

“Having the opportunity to “rub shoulders” with…Holly Hofmann and you (A. Ryerson) in addition to Lew Tabackin and Hubert Laws provided a great learning experience that I certainly will never forget. It is only fitting that the National Flute Association recognize one of America’s truly great indigenous art forms in the same manner that other genres are addressed.” —Kenny Powell

I am deeply grateful to the NFA for their support of the JFBB. I think we’ve got ourselves a winner!

—Ali Ryerson, conductor, NFA Jazz Flute Big Band

photo by Brian Covington