Airmen of Note

Airmen of Note The premier jazz ensemble of the United States Air Force. Calendar: https://www.music.af.mil/Bands/The-United-States-Air-Force-Band/Events/ The Airmen of Note is the premier jazz ensemble of the United States Air Force.

Created in 1950 to carry on the tradition of Glenn Miller's dance band , the Note adopted a more contemporary style under the direction of the legendary Sammy Nestico. Beginning in the '70s, Senior Master Sgt. Mike Crotty, the Note's chief arranger for more than 25 years, helped elevate the band to the forefront of modern big band jazz and continues today with internationally known staff arranger Alan Baylock. To augment its talented writing staff, the Airmen of Note has commissioned works by such celebrated arrangers as Bob Florence and Bob Mintzer. Sammy Nestico and fellow Note alumnus Tommy Newsom have each composed works for the group as well.

Created in 1950 to carry on the tradition of Glenn Miller's dance band , the Note adopted a more contemporary style under the direction of the legendary Sammy Nestico. Beginning in the '70s, Senior Master Sgt. Mike Crotty, the Note's chief arranger for more than 25 years, helped elevate the band to the forefront of modern big band jazz and continues today with internationally known staff arranger Alan Baylock. To augment its talented writing staff, the Airmen of Note has commissioned works by such celebrated arrangers as Bob Florence and Bob Mintzer. Sammy Nestico and fellow Note alumnus Tommy Newsom have each composed works for the group as well.

Operating as usual

TRIVIA TIME | In early 1950, as this ensemble was still in its infancy, a formal name hadn't been established. Chief War...
02/10/2021

TRIVIA TIME | In early 1950, as this ensemble was still in its infancy, a formal name hadn't been established. Chief Warrant Officer Fred Kepner considered many options before he settled on The Airmen of Note. Here are some of the alternate names considered:
• The Airtones
• The Martialaires
• The Skyliners
• The Squadronaires
• The Skymasters
• The Swinging Sergeants

Of the name Swinging Sergeants CWO Kepner said, "That was my battle to take on. I wasn't about to let that happen!"

Which name is your favorite? We think they did a pretty good job picking out our iconic name.

#AirmenofNote70 #FunFact #ThroughTheYears #70thAnniversary

CALLING ALL ARRANGERS | Sammy Nestico once famously said, "We may not be changing the world dramatically, but we're impr...
02/09/2021

CALLING ALL ARRANGERS | Sammy Nestico once famously said, "We may not be changing the world dramatically, but we're improving it one note at a time." The Sammy Nestico Award, in its 24th year, is geared at showcasing some of the finest young big band arrangers in the nation. The deadline to submit is March 1, 2021. The winner will receive a $2,400 follow-up commission and have the 'Note perform the winning submission or commission live in concert.

For a full list of requirements, please visit our Competitions page: https://www.music.af.mil/Bands/The-United-States-Air-Force-Band/Events/Competitions/

In the words of the late Mr. Nestico, if you want to win "Ya Gotta Try!"

#jazz #bigband #composition #AirmenofNote
BMI Jazz Composers Workshop | Jazz Education Network | National Association for Music Education

02/06/2021
The Airmen of Note: Swinging Since 1950

#thenandnowchallenge

The musicians have come and gone but the one constant has been playing world-class big band music for the public on behalf of the U.S. Air Force since 1950!

How do we look for our age?
#AirmenofNote70th #70thAnniversary
(Video produced by Master Sgt. Kevin Cerovich)

BLACK HISTORY MONTH | Our 2016 Jazz Heritage Series guest Mr. Cyrus Chestnut has reinvigorated several genres including ...
02/04/2021

BLACK HISTORY MONTH | Our 2016 Jazz Heritage Series guest Mr. Cyrus Chestnut has reinvigorated several genres including jazz, gospel, blues, and even spirituals during his stellar 30+ year career. His exploration of the continuum of Black American music provides a captivating experience for listeners of his music. Chestnut’s musical roots began in the Black church where he was first exposed to gospel music. His family attended Mount Calvary Baptist Church in Baltimore, Maryland where his father was the organist. He first began playing the piano at age 3, and by age 5 he was already a performing member of the music ministry. By age nine, he was studying classical piano in the prep program at the Peabody Conservatory. Fast forward to the early 90s and Chestnut had graduated from the Berklee College of Music and launched his solo career.

“Music is always about forward motion. You might be into a certain realm at a certain time, but nothing is eternal. The clock never stays the same; while it circles round and round, time still passes. I believe music is meant to mimic this forward motion,” states Chestnut. For a musician that has perfected stride, blues, traditional gospel, and bebop styles, he remains focused on charting new paths through his original music.

Although originally a Christian hymn, ‘Amazing Grace” has become an emblematic Black spiritual over the last half-century. Watch this unique performance from the Airmen of Note’s Jazz Heritage Series concert at Rachel M. Schlesinger Concert Hall and Arts Center.
➡️➡️ https://fb.watch/3qCf2ss5Bo/

Today, in addition to his performance career, Cyrus Chestnut is a professor at Howard University Department of Music.

Black music is uniquely American and is celebrated all over the world. Mr. Chestnut often recites a famous quote from one of the founding fathers of jazz music, Duke Ellington: “There are simply two kinds of music, good music and the other kind …” We are thankful for the experience of performing and recording with Mr. Chestnut and will continue to celebrate his contributions to the American musical landscape.

#BlackHistoryMonth #pianist #jazzmusic #CyrusChestnut #gospel

JAM SESSION | There is still time to help us premiere the original song "Minor Distance" by playing along with our trio!...
02/03/2021

JAM SESSION | There is still time to help us premiere the original song "Minor Distance" by playing along with our trio! HINT: This song is based on the jazz standard "Alone Together."

WHO: Anyone can submit a video recording of themselves playing with our backing track but first email us at [email protected] for full requirements.

WHAT: A unique opportunity to be featured on our social media pages as our production team merges several submissions into a feature video.

WHEN: All submissions are due by February 15 so get started.

WHERE: You can record your part from the comfort of your own home but the video will be seen all over the world.

WHY: The current restrictions have curtailed our public performances and educational outreach but through the power of technology we can still collaborate and share a musical moment.

HOW: First, head on over to our YouTube link to watch/listen to the song:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CQPUdp8elmE

Then, download the appropriate lead sheet for your instrument (vocalists are also welcome) here: https://drive.google.com/drive/u/0/folders/1sYdoEx4NIGEJJD8r1Bf7UtGAyvBHwL53

02/02/2021
A Duet with the First Pianist of the Airmen of Note!

PIANO LEGACY | What better way to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the Airmen of Note than with this special duet between the very first pianist, Jim Odrich, and current pianist, Technical Sgt. Chris Ziemba. Mr. Odrich (who performed with the band from 1951 - 1955) and Sgt. Ziemba (who has occupied the chair since 2017) decided upon the jazz standard "Stella by Starlight" for their collaboration. This piece, composed by Victor Young, is one that most jazz musicians keep in their stable of tunes. It allowed for an instant musical connection to be forged across generations of the ensemble's piano chair. Hats off to you, Mr. Odrich, for continuing to swing from the very beginning!

Stella by Starlight
composed by Victor Young

Technical Sgt. Chris Ziemba, piano
Jim Odrich, piano

PRODUCTION CREDITS
Col. Don Schofield - executive producer
Master Sgt. Luke Brandon - producer
Technical Sgt. Jim Woolf - audio engineer
Technical Sgt. Mike Brest - video editor

Special thanks to Tom Schizzano, who assisted with audio/video recording for Mr. Odrich

#AirmenofNote #MusicConnects #StrongerTogether #Inspire #Legacy

MEET YOUR 'NOTE LEADERS | The Airmen of Note leadership team is responsible for managing the ensemble's many projects, p...
01/28/2021

MEET YOUR 'NOTE LEADERS | The Airmen of Note leadership team is responsible for managing the ensemble's many projects, performances and other activities. Meet the members who are currently making it all happen:

➣ Our Flight Chief is Chief Master Sgt. Brian MacDonald. He oversees the entire group, handles strategic planning, and represents the flight to USAF Band leadership, all while dominating the lead trumpet chair.
➣ Senior Master Sgt. Geoff Reecer, our guitarist, serves as the Superintendent. He assists the Chief with strategic planning, manages personnel, and helps ensure things are running smoothly to meet all objectives.
➣ Our Music Director is Master Sgt. Luke Brandon. His responsibilities include rehearsing the ensemble, selecting repertoire, and programming performances and recordings. He also holds down our 3rd/jazz trumpet chair.
➣ Our NCOIC of Flight Operations (and drummer) is Master Sgt. David McDonald. He coordinates logistical details with performance venues and handles day-to-day scheduling, to include rehearsals, performances, and other activities in and around the Washington, DC area.

While their roles are separate and defined, they constitute a true team. They are in constant communication with one another and frequently collaborate to meet goals and face down challenges. The Airmen of Note is truly lucky to have these members behind the yoke!

#AirmenofNote #StrongerTogether #KnowYourMil #Wingman #Leadership

It is ceremonial tradition for The United States Air Force Band to perform at presidential inaugural functions and depar...
01/22/2021

It is ceremonial tradition for The United States Air Force Band to perform at presidential inaugural functions and departure ceremonies. Earlier this week, Master Sgt. Ben Polk and Technical Sgt. Mike Cemprola augmented the Ceremonial Brass during the departure ceremony at Joint Base Andrews.

Fun fact: Sgt. Cemprola's first performance with The USAF Band, fresh out of Air Force Basic Military Training, was the 2017 Inaugural Parade. What a way to start a career as a bandsman!

(Photo by CMSgt Kevin Burns)

#USAFBand #AirmenofNote #honor #inspire #tradition

01/21/2021
Help us to create a new video!

We're looking for collaborators to help us complete our latest musical offering! "Minor Distance," composed by Master Sgt. Luke Brandon, is based on the classic jazz standard "Alone Together." Our rhythm section recorded the play-along track, and we invite YOU to create a video recording of yourself performing the melody and improvising!

Feel free to post your version on your own pages (be sure to tag us if you do)! Additionally, if you'd like to be considered for our final video product, please send an email expressing interest to [email protected]; the submission deadline is Feb. 15. This is open to students and musical colleagues of all ages and abilities. HAVE FUN!

YouTube link (includes audio/video recording guidelines):
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CQPUdp8elmE

MP3 track and PDFs to parts (available for C, Bb, Eb and bass clef instruments):
https://drive.google.com/drive/u/1/folders/1sYdoEx4NIGEJJD8r1Bf7UtGAyvBHwL53

#AirmenofNote #MusicConnects #jazz #jazzstandard #playalong
Jazz Education Network

01/19/2021
Remembering Sammy Nestico

While taking some time to honor the gigantic legacy of jazz composer and arranger Sammy Nestico, one chart that immediately came to mind is "Ya Gotta Try." The Airmen of Note has kept this one in the rotation of concert openers. With energy, compositional logic, and undeniable joy written into every measure, it has the ability to instantly connect with audiences. This is something of which Mr. Nestico was a true master!

This recording comes from the 2018 Jazz Heritage Series. Featured soloists include Technical Sgt. Chris Ziemba on piano, Master Sgts. Tedd Baker and Grant Langford on tenor sax, and Master Sgt. David McDonald on drums.

#AirmenofNote #jazz #bigband #SammyNestico #RIP

IN MEMORIAM | Today the jazz world remembers the extraordinary life and legacy of Mr. Sammy Nestico. 96 years young, "Sh...
01/17/2021

IN MEMORIAM | Today the jazz world remembers the extraordinary life and legacy of Mr. Sammy Nestico. 96 years young, "Shadow Man" blazed a path wherever he went from performing and leading the 'Note in the 1950s, writing for leading Big Band's such as The Legendary Count Basie Orchestra, and compiling over 600 charts to his name played by schools and ensembles the world over.

Aside from his prolific career, friends and colleagues knew him for his easy-going nature and his boisterous laughter. The United States Air Force Band is proud to continue the legacy he helped set forth through his service and dedication to his craft. We send our deepest condolences to his family and friends. His timeless music will live on as we celebrate one of the finest examples of American ingenuity.
#SammyNestico #Jazz #BigBand #Arranger #Composer #RIP

01/14/2021
"Blue Monk" feat. Tech. Sgt. Ben Thomas & U.S. Army Band bassists

It's not very often that you get to hear an ensemble composed of three bassists, but our counterparts in The United States Army Band "Pershing's Own" borrowed Technical Sgt. Ben Thomas and made it happen! This arrangement of Thelonious Monk's "Blue Monk" was adapted from the iconic three-bass album "SuperBass" (featuring Christian McBride, Ray Brown and John Clayton). Throughout the performance, each bassist takes a solo, walks bass lines, and even adds rhythmic accompaniment!

It doesn't end there! An interactive feature enables student bassists to substitute their own voice over any one of the parts! Simply head to the U.S. Army Band's education page, where you can download a .pdf of each part and launch the corresponding play-along track!
https://www.usarmyband.com/education-community/education-videos---play-along.html

PERFORMERS:
Technical Sgt. Ben Thomas, The Airmen of Note
Sgt. 1st Class Regan Brough, The U.S. Army Blues
Sgt. 1st Class Eric Seay, The U.S. Army Concert Band

#AirmenofNote #MusicConnects #jointservice #jazzbass #inspire

LAST CALL | Less than a week remains to submit materials for our baritone saxophone audition! It's all due on Jan. 18, s...
01/12/2021

LAST CALL | Less than a week remains to submit materials for our baritone saxophone audition! It's all due on Jan. 18, so if you've been thinking about sending in, now's the time. A career of musical service awaits you with one of the finest big bands in the world!

For further info and a list of requirements, visit our careers page:
https://www.music.af.mil/Bands/The-United-States-Air-Force-Band/About-Us/Careers-in-The-United-States-Air-Force-Band/

#USAFBand #AirmenofNote #baritonesax #jazz #audition

01/08/2021

BIRD AT 100 | We’re celebrating 100 years of Charlie “Yardbird” Parker (b. Aug. 29, 1920), one of the most influential saxophonists and composers of all time! The Airmen of Note saxophonists fell into formation and recorded this unaccompanied version of “Segment,” a Parker original-turned-standard.

Together with his musical contemporaries of the 1940s, Parker was instrumental to the development of a new dialect of improvisation, which would change the course of jazz forever. Known as bebop, it featured angular melodies, bombastic rhythms, often-blistering tempos, and ultimately promoted the notion of jazz music as an American art form worthy of the same respects accorded to European classical music. For a jazz musician of any instrument, it’s impossible to downplay the significance of Parker’s contributions to the music!

#AirmenofNote #jazz #saxophone #CharlieParker #jazzstandard

“Segment”
Music by Charles Christopher Parker, Jr.
© Atlantic Music Corp
Used by Permission
Arranged by Senior Master Sgt. (ret.) Mike Crotty

Airmen of Note Saxophones
Technical Sgt. Kristian Baarsvik, alto saxophone
Technical Sgt. Mike Cemprola, alto saxophone
Master Sgt. Tedd Baker, tenor saxophone
Master Sgt. Grant Langford, tenor saxophone
Master Sgt. Doug Morgan, baritone saxophone

Production Credits
Col. Don Schofield - executive producer
Master Sgt. Luke Brandon - producer
Master Sgt. Emily Wellington - editor/videographer
Master Sgt. Kevin Cerovich - videographer
Master Sgt. Josh Voyles - audio mixing
Technical Sgt. Jim Woolf - audio engineer

SAMMY NESTICO AWARD | Are you a big band composer or arranger? If so, we want you! Entries are now being accepted for th...
01/07/2021

SAMMY NESTICO AWARD | Are you a big band composer or arranger? If so, we want you! Entries are now being accepted for the 24th Annual Sammy Nestico Award. The winner will receive a $2,400 follow-up commission, and the winning composition or commission will be performed at an Airmen of Note concert! Submission materials are due Mar. 1, 2021. For a full list of requirements, please visit our Competitions page:
https://www.music.af.mil/Bands/The-United-States-Air-Force-Band/Events/Competitions/

#jazz #bigband #composition #AirmenofNote
Sammy Nestico | Jazz Education Network

Calling all educators and students! The 2021 Jazz Education Network's 12th annual conference is all-online this year, an...
01/05/2021

Calling all educators and students! The 2021 Jazz Education Network's 12th annual conference is all-online this year, and we're thrilled to have our own virtual booth! We hope you'll stop by and say hi on Thursday, Friday, or Saturday, from 11:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m., 2:00-3:00 p.m., or 5:00-6:00 p.m. each day. Our members are eager to answer any and all questions about what's coming up for the Airmen of Note, careers in The USAF Band (especially our current opening for baritone saxophone), and more!

#JENX2021 #musiceducation #musicconnects #jazz

Airmen of Note's cover photo
01/04/2021

Airmen of Note's cover photo

While ushering in a brand new year, please help us thank Master Sgt. Jeff Martin for his service, as he officially retir...
01/01/2021

While ushering in a brand new year, please help us thank Master Sgt. Jeff Martin for his service, as he officially retires today! He served over 23 years consecutively in the flight, holding down the 2nd trombone chair as a formidable soloist, as well as the creative position of flight arranger. He contributed more than 25 arrangements and compositions to the band's library, and his works are featured on seven of our albums. He will be sorely missed, but we are excited for what the future has in store for him! Wishing you all the best, Master Sgt. (ret.) Martin!
#AirmenofNote #trombone #jazz #retirement #thankyouforyourservice

YEAR IN REVIEW | 2020 was an unusual year for the global community. Airmen are taught early on that "flexibility is the ...
12/31/2020

YEAR IN REVIEW | 2020 was an unusual year for the global community. Airmen are taught early on that "flexibility is the key to air power," a saying that was put to the test over the course of adapting to this year's challenges. Even though public concerts were put on hold, the Airmen of Note continued its tradition of musical innovation, using technology to our advantage in producing musical collaborations with partners from all over the world! As we remember the highlights, we're ready and waiting for all of the great things 2021 will bring!

The Airmen of Note celebrates 70 years of existence with a look back on some of the highlights! On Sep. 7, 1972, while t...
12/28/2020

The Airmen of Note celebrates 70 years of existence with a look back on some of the highlights! On Sep. 7, 1972, while the band was under the baton of 1st Lt. Ken Green, the Airmen of Note was invited to perform on "The Tonight Show" with Johnny Carson. The band was originally scheduled to play a single number. However, upon hearing a small part of their soundcheck, Mr. Carson was so impressed that he decided to cut a song from the following act just so the 'Note could play an encore! This high-profile engagement allowed the Airmen of Note to achieve widespread recognition as a leading voice in the big band realm.

You can watch the whole performance here!
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RyMvxG-goWU

#AirmenofNote #DidYouKnow #TonightShow #AirmenofNote70th

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Washington D.C., DC
20006

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Comments

Great first week at radio for the new AON project featuring John Fedchock, Christian McBride and Randy Breaker! Please reach out to your local jazz station and request they play this magnificent cd!
I came across this newspaper article today of my brother as I was going through some old Tole family memorabilia. We were very proud!
Airmen of Note, since my son and daughter joined the jazz bands through junior high and high school time, we've come to love jazz, particularly the swing era. We have an all-city and all-state (alt) jazz bassist and our trombonist. My son's bass instructor was very recently part of the USAFA jazz. He is now up at a UNC Greely for music education and jazz studies. Has the idea of cutting the 1998 In the Mood album, or any of the swing, to an LP come up? It would be awesome to hear the ensemble but with the old school LP crackles. We'd be right there with Maj Miller and the band on our way to victory.
Hi, I am trying to contact Dudley Hinote to inform him of a zoom reunion tomorrow with the 1983 Disney college band members - if anyone here has his contact info, could you please send me a message? Thanks!
Does anyone know whatever happened to that fellow who had, years ago what appeared to be, a complete collection of the Airmen of Note albums available online for download? I kind of remember that he had low-bitrate mp3 files for free and high-bitrate files for a nominal fee. Why is there no centralized library repository for free access to all of the band's audio files?
Where can we stream/download the new "Air Power" album?
This was going to be a month of live, swinging, big band music. Maybe next year. Please stay safe!
Commandant's Own Marine Drum and Bugle Corps, '84-'88... Maj Truman W Crawford was my CO... He was former Air Force in the late 60's, early 70's... You guys sound awesome... Thanks for the invite.
I'm a big fan of SMSgt Brian F. MacDonald's trumpet playing. Could somebody post what horn and mouthpiece he is now using, what methodology he follows, and any tips as to how he maintains his incredible range and sound?
I've been trying to find the chart to the Bass feature, Pennies from Heaven off of the Out in Front album. Which arranger was that and how might I be able to grab that one??
Great concert in Montgomery, AL last night and good to talk with many of you afterwards!
I just found this page! Great! I was one of the two production engineers on the Serenade in Blue radio show from 1970 until 1973 along with my co-production engineer, MSgt Tom Williams and the writer and producer of the show, MSgt, Bill Gilmore (both deceased). I was an A1C when I arrived and an SSgt when I was discharged. Our OIC was Capt. Troy Brand. Troy and I are still connected. Tom or I produced, not only all of the Serenade in Blue radio shows during that period, but also, many, if not all, of the special Note albums. I also produced at least a couple special holiday albums that were distributed to the AF MIA and POW families. It was an exciting time. We were directly under the Command Services Unit (CSU) of the Secretary of the Air Force Office of Information (SAFOI) located about 3 blocks from the USAF Band (and Note's) headquarters on Bolling AFB. I worked with the Note at the end of the Bunton era, the Ken Greene era and part of the Egge era. We recorded with a lot of the big names of that era including Della Reese, Sarah Vaughn and a long list of others either with Ed Greene while he still operated his Edgewood Studio in DC and also when he moved to the new MGM Studios in Hollywood and with Nelson Funk at Rodel Recording in Georgetown (DC). We also did some recording at the Capitol Tower in Hollywood with an engineer by the name of Hugh Davies, I believe. I also knew Jim Sleeman and Jack Poore, two of the audio guys with the Note and their boss, SMSgt John Schuman, during that time. We worked collaboratively during that period. The band's mission was to create the music and entertain the troops and with the public as a public relations branch of the SecAF. Our mission was to produce the radio shows (we produced other shows as well) and the special albums for recruiting and to encourage reenlistment. It was a great time. There is another local fellow, Bart Lay, here in this little hamlet of WV, where I happen to be staying temporarily, who runs a vinyl LP business part-time (he's also a drummer, plays gigs and is a former member of the Wright-Pat AF Band) who I connected with. I walked into his shop and there were some box sets of the Serenade In Blue radio shows that were sent to some 2,000 radio stations, as I recall. My production credits were on the back. It turns out his father, Jim Lay, was in the trumpet section of the Note during my time producing S.I.B. Small world. Next year will be 50 years since I arrived at Bolling AFB to assume my producing role with CSU. Seems like only yesterday. I had already completed two degrees, started a radio station and had to close down my own recording business in Syracuse, NY to take on my Air Force gig. It was during the last days of the Selective Service Draft - and they had my number. But, I made the connections before I enlisted to get myself "hired" for the CSU job in DC. Great years indeed and great musicians to work with - all! I hope some of the "oldie but goody" guys from the Note are on this FB group. All but three of us from the CSU audio production group are deceased.