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MO BOTTOM BIG BAND Debuts “Front & Center”
“CD Premiers with ALL Original Material”

 



“… a very good jazz player and, as a writer, have moments of brilliance.”
– Les Hooper, Emmy Award-Winning Composer



St. Louis, December 3 Bret Spainhour has no delusions of grandeur. Nevertheless, his 18-piece, MO BOTTOM BIG BAND debuts their first CD, “Front & Center,” at Ft. Zumwalt South High School (FZSHS) on Tuesday, December 7th at 8:00 p.m. According to FZSHS Band Director, Gary Brandes, “Bret’s compositions are first class! All of his charts are unique, fresh, interesting, and musically pleasing.” At a time when most jazz artists produce music to fulfill a financial void, Spainhour’s CD is different. After only four (4) years of writing and two summer jazz workshops in Krakow, Poland, Spainhour, has self-recorded, edited and produced “Front & Center.” And he spent $10,000 of his own money doing it–not an inexpensive proposition for this lifelong educator. First, there were a few hurdles to overcome.

Art Triumphs Over Handicap
In 1995 Spainhour was diagnosed with severe tendinitis in both of his forearms. Besides causing great discomfort, the diagnosis limited his computer access, performance of piano chords, and even the use of a television remote control. Out of frustration, Bret learned to “use my feet to negotiate the computer keyboard and mouse placed on the floor.” A member of Mensa, he was eventually able to score music, dictate letters, and surf the internet once again.

Bret Spainhour’s first six compositions were created entirely in this fashion…inputting, formatting, and extracting parts. It was not until after his condition dissipated, seven years later, that he was able to use his arms for computer input again. Occasionally, Bret admits a return to his unorthodox approach due to periods of discomfort during heavy workloads!

Something for Everyone
As a jazz educator, Bret confessed, “it was difficult to find challenging pieces that were within my students capabilities.” That’s why, “Every single song is a different style, and that’s not by accident. I’m trying to write songs that fill certain niches. The charts accommodate all skills levels from intermediate to advanced. Technically, the title song, Front & Center, is perhaps the best written and usually receives the best response from jazz musicians,” Bret said. Stylistically, Spellbound, challenges musicians with a laid-back funk groove and pays homage to one of Bret’s influences, the late, great saxophonist Grover Washington, Jr. Don’t let the laid-back, smooth style fool you. “It’s aggressive, yet relaxed,” Bret stated. Although the ballad Dominika is easier to play, a professional band can sound great performing it together. Inspired by one of Bret’s saxophone student’s in Poland, “Dominika is usually a favorite of women because it’s more emotional,” remarked Spainhour. Whether your interest is professional, educational, or simply that of a layperson, Front & Center is just as exciting to listen to as it is to perform. If you would like to purchase the CD or big band music charts for, “Bret Spainhour & the MO BOTTOM BIG BAND, Front & Center,” visit http://www.JazzBytheFoot.com.

Critical Acclaim
7-time Grammy nominee and Emmy award-winning composer / sound designer, Les Hooper composes everything from classical to blues and jazz; from commercials to concert commissions. His credits include movies, TV, commercials, live performances, orchestral commissions and many published pieces of music. Hooper had this to say about Bret Spainhour and Front & Center, “You are a very good jazz player, and as a writer, have moments of brilliance.”

Personnel
On Front & Center, Spainhour performs with 18 of St. Louis’ finest and most impressive musicians. Saxophone: Mike Findlay, Paul DeMarinis, Larry Smith, Larry Johnson, Bret Spainhour. Trumpet: Frank Goessler, Dan Smith, Robert Souza, Randy Holmes. Trombone: Tom Vincent, Brett Stamps, Jim Owens, Jim Martin. Rhythm Section: Tom Byrne, Carolbeth True, Tom Kennedy, Kevin Gianino, Chip Scales. Guest Soloist: Reggie Thomas. All selections are original; composed and arranged by Bret Spainhour (ASCAP), with the exception of Poinciana (arrangement only). “I want my art out. Most guys are in this business to make money. That’s not always ‘educationally’ sound,” Bret said. Spainhour, simply wants his art and charts out there. Front & Center was produced by Bret Spainhour for the Saxlix label.

On Tuesday, December 7th at 8:00 p.m. Ross Gentile, WSIE’s 88.7 FM jazz station, will emcee the CD release concert and one of Bret Spainhour’s final performances in the U.S. before a move to Berlin, Germany. CD’s will be autographed with complimentary gift wrap and specially priced at $15. Concert admission is $10 for adults and $5 for students (18 & under). Doors open at 7:30 p.m. and admission is available on a first come, first served basis. For more concert information, contact Gary Brandes at (636) 978-1212, or visit www.JazzByTheFoot.com and click “What’s New.”

 
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