Bob Curnow

Photo: Walter Mladina

Bob Curnow comes by his musical talents honestly. A member of Stan Kenton's trombone section in the 1960's, he re-joined the band in 1973 to begin a four-year stint as A&R director, arranger, composer, producer and general manager of Kenton's Creative World Records. In that position, he produced over 25 albums, six of which featured his own compositions or arrangements. One notable highlight was his rousing adaptation for the Kenton band of the music of Chicago and Blood Sweat & Tears (Kenton Plays Chicago.) His version of "Once Upon a Time" stands out as the most romantic and melodic Kenton track ever recorded.

Curnow later became president of the International Association of Jazz Educators (IAJE) and his influence was instrumental in shaping the organization as it is today. He also spent eleven years as Director of Bands and Jazz Studies at California State University in Los Angeles and, prior to that, taught at Michigan State and Case Western Reserve Universities. Curnow has been a guest conductor of many symphony orchestras, such as the Boston Pops and the Cleveland Philharmonic, and all-state jazz ensemble throughout the United States. He has served as a clinician or adjudicator at jazz festivals in forty states and Canada. For eight years, Curnow also directed the McDonald's All-American High School Jazz Band, touring the country and discovering many talented young players who since have become prominent in their field.

Currently the leader of the New Jazz Repertory Ensemble of Spokane, Curnow heads Sierra Music Publications, one of America's fastest-growing music publishers. Sierra prints and distributes many of the charts used by the bands of such jazz greats as Stan Kenton, Maynard Ferguson, Bill Holman, Les Hooper and many others, as well as Bob's own arrangements of the music of the Yellowjackets.

It was in 1982 that Bob Curnow first became fascinated with the complexity, intelligence and melodic beauty of the music of the Pat Metheny Group. Shortly thereafter he began transcribing select Metheny compositions. At first, he merely wanted to satisfy his curiosity about their musical content, but soon he began to hear the possibility of arranging these works for big band. Curnow ultimately penned some twelve arrangements of compositions by Pat Metheny and/or Lyle Mays. These works stand as stellar examples of the art of arranging at its finest. The resulting album, The Music of Pat Metheny and Lyle Mays, is the culmination of Curnow's decade-long dream and clearly demonstrates that big band jazz can be as poignant and relevant today as ever.

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