Commentary: 7.6.17



Jazz Artistry Now – Professional military jazz bands have long been a source of employment for instrumental artists and singers. A more modern portion of this music history goes back to World War I when James Reece Europe‘s military band traveled thousands of miles performing for English, French and U.S. troops, along with civilian audiences while touring around the continent of Europe.

Lieutenant Europe also made several recordings. His story is fascinating and worth knowing. And, the tremendously famous Glenn Miller Army Air Forces Band served during World War II. Fast-forward through the decades since those historic times and military bands have also been among the largest single employers of professional jazz musicians for three-quarters of a century.

Recent news about the latest round of reductions in the number of groups worldwide reflects an ongoing challenge music programs of the military services continually face. When the job of the military is to fight wars, music can seemingly be a topic far removed from the purpose at hand.

But, is it that far removed from the mission-essential elements needed by the total force? Many argue both ways logically, but the fact remains that professional musicians have been part of the military since 1776.

And, the latest reports indicate that the U.S. Department of Defense understands the value of music as part of its mission – including the inherent cultural, educational, and ambassadorial role of America’s original art form, jazz.

We launched in July and published our first review (Common Quartet’s stunning recording, The Hive).

Now, and considering all of the above, we introduce our first feature article and interview profiling the United States Air Force’s premier jazz ensemble, The Airmen of Note, to be published in August, along with another music review.