The journal of a Kentucky culture vulture
Tuesday night, the group will play its last notes with a performance as part of the weekly Jazz at Ecton Park series.
The grand finale will include the presentation of a Community Jazz Service Award by Mayor Jim Newberry and the Bluegrass Area Jazz Association.
Director Byron Romanowitz says the group’s passing is from natural causes.
“I’ve been kidding people, saying the market did it for us,” Romanowitz said in his Lexington home. Over the years, the group’s bookings declined steadily, and “we couldn’t find enough young people to keep it going,” he said.
He shows a chart of the group’s bookings to demonstrate the point. In the early 1990s, when Harry Connick Jr. made big band and standards cool again, Men of Note was getting more than two dozen bookings a year.
Recently though, there have been only a handful.
The group started as an ensemble of musicians who liked to play for fun. At the time, Romanowitz was not playing. He was launching his career as an architect, and “people didn’t want to entrust their million-dollar building to a guy they saw playing in the band on the weekends,” he says.
But by 1977, his career was established, and he joined the group, helping to move it in a more professional direction.
“It was a good band with some of the best players in town,” says Romanowitz, a saxophonist.
About Rich Copley & Copious Notes
Raised by opera-loving parents in a rock ’n’ roll world, Rich Copley has parlayed his broad interests into his career writing about arts and entertainment. Since 1998, he has covered performing arts, film and faith-based popular culture for the Lexington Herald-Leader, the daily newspaper in Lexington, Ky. MORE | E-mail Rich