Oh yes, Major Vistas prepares. Almost hourly, they meet to rehearse, discuss logistics, share the occasional snack or beverage, exchange cyber-information, and plan public relations strategies. These preparations leave little in the way of time for sleep, recreation, or family for the three members of Major Vistas. But such endeavors are necessary, even crucial, to insure the success of their upcoming event. Faithful readers will know that this event is mere days away, on Friday, October 14 at 7:30 PM. The location is the Frederick March Play Circle in Madison, WI. They will share the bill with the Anders Svanoe Trio.

Whew, that was a lot of information, wasn't it? Thanks for slogging through that paragraph, Gentle Reader! You deserve a long nap, a nap of the sort that the tireless Major Vistas will never know. Let's all show up Friday and congratulate them on all their hard work why not? See You there!

-Urban Van Hoof

Must, can't, will

Jazz at Five has come and gone. Now is the time to put past triumphs behind us and look toward the future.

Yes, the future may seem frightening, with its promise of advanced cyber-larceny and zombie uprisings. Genetically modified crops will eventually gain sentience and decide they’d be much happier if they were eating us. Our cruel machine overlords will make excessive demands, like eliminating flex time for all but the highest paid executives. Every new day promises to be a waking nightmare of oppression, despair, and terrible inconvenience. Unless…

What if, in this dark, dark world, there was still some vestige of humanity that cried out to comfort your battered soul? What if the arts, letters, music, cinema, and internet cat pictures somehow managed to survive, even thrive, through harrowing times, giving us hope and a reason to live?

Major Vistas is doing its part toward this end. Not only will they be performing again in October, but there is already a rash of new material waiting impatiently to be spread onto a public starved for a ray of light in the dark ravine that is tomorrow.

Or, maybe October 14 will roll around and you’ll be bored, wondering what to do, and you’re sick of all the damn Marvel superhero movies and you’ll think about seeing some live music. Either way, Gentle Reader, Major Vistas will be here for you! Watch this page for updates.

-Urban Van Hoof

Jazz at Five: the Summary

The most poignant moment of last week’s Jazz at Five outdoor jazz concert was in between sets. After one of the three bands had finished and while the next was setting up, there were a mother and daughter standing off to the side, observing. The daughter was very young and resembled the youngest of Donna Reed’s children in It’s a Wonderful Life. The mother resembled Donna Reed. Watching the next act take the stage, the daughter asked:

“Mommy? Where is Jazzcat?”

“Well, darling, Jazzcat couldn’t be here today.”

“But, mommy…where is he? Or she?”

“Well, sweetheart, Jazzcat had to go away. She or he was needed elsewhere.”


“Yes. Jazzcat was needed at a…farm. Jazzcat is at a farm now! A Jazzkitten farm! And he or she is teaching all the little kittens all about jazz and how to talk jazz talk and they’re oh so happy!”

“Really, mommy, really?”

“Oh yes, my dear! And the farm is full of birds and squirrels and cans of tuna and noisy electric can-openers and everything that kittens adore! And Jazzcat is there, teaching them all about jazz!”

“Oh mommy, that sounds wonderful! Can we go to Jazzkitten farm?”

“Not today, dear. But right now we can listen to jazz played by human musicians.”

“Okay, mommy. It’s a start.”

And such a start it was, Gentle Reader! The first Jazz at Five concert of the 2016 series featured stirring performances by Milwaukee’s Skai Academy, Major Vistas, and Ladies Must Swing. Each ensemble brought something unique. Skai Academy: youth, enthusiasm, David Bowie songs. Major Vistas: original music by Bucheit and Weiser. Ladies Must Swing: big band repertory with something for everyone. The event ran smoothly and on schedule. The sound people were professional and courteous. The crowd was abundant and enthusiastic.

Major Vistas were happy to participate. And maybe, for a little while, that little girl missed Jazzcat a little less. Fare thee well, Jazzcat, wherever you are! -Urban Van Hoof

Olympics Fever: Contract It! Then Spread It!

If you're like the members of Major Vistas, you've been a virtual shut-in the last few days, watching the Olympic games with a nationalistic fervor that borders on the pathological. And why not? The Olympics bring out the best in us all: competition, sportsmanship, judging, the idealization of the superhuman, high-tech sportswear, and statistics. But it's all too easy to stare at a screen, isolated from society, silently and tearfully worshiping your genetic betters. As much as this momentarily lends our lives meaning, sometimes it might be healthy to get out and be around people. And Major Vistas is all about people. On Wednesday, the ensemble will be performing for gaggles, even herds, of people. And one of them could be you, Dear Reader! Please consider joining the gaggles with the band, who I understand have been working on amazing new material and will no doubt put on a worthwhile hour, give or take, of solid entertainment. The logistics have been ironed out. Soundchecks are being discussed. Uniforms are being pressed, rejected by the Central Committee, redesigned and pressed again. Between bands (see the Jazz at 5 website for details), perhaps you can catch the ear of a fellow attendee and wonder aloud about how they don't wear speedos anymore or the nefarious new Russian practice of wearing red and blue to confuse us. Perhaps these issues can never be resolved. No matter. What matters is, for a couple hours, we'll have crawled out from behind our walls of solitude and had a shared experience. Thanks, Major Vistas! -Urban Van Hoof

Major Vistas Is Playing Again Soon! Outside! In August!

Preparations are well under way for what may well prove to be Major Vistas' finest and hottest performance yet. The intrepid trio will be performing in direct sunlight and unleashing countless (three) new compositions upon an unsuspecting but enthusiastic public on August 10 at five PM. The event has been confirmed, but there are still details to consider. Details such as: where do we park? Can we park right at the place? The drummer remembers having parked right at the place before, but maybe things have changed. It's been a few years. Maybe it's different now. All things are transitory. Changes occur all the time in this world. One minute you're young and alive and you're thinking about moving to San Francisco to pursue a degree in the anthropomorphic arts, then the next minute you're alone in a dark room opening your fifth Toblerone of the day and it's not even three in the afternoon. Everything that went wrong, you wonder how different, how much better it could have been, if only you'd been smarter, faster, more in control. There was that time at the museum when you ruined a valuable friendship because you disparaged Henry Moore a little too much. And that dinner party where your Dick Cavett impression drew a lot of silent opprobrium. And so many others. Today's Major Vistas rehearsal was an entirely different affair. Professional, convivial, productive: everything Major Vistas strives toward. Sources tell me that the new material is evolving at a terrifying rate. Soon AM and FM radio alike will be dominated by Bucheit's Modulus and Weiser's Steady Struttin' and Translucent. Each of these compositions is unique in style and deportment, but they all reflect the Major Vistas ethos: harmony, chords, rhythms, notes, tempos. Volume. Dexterity. Musicness. Insight. Good manners. Sonic properties. That's the Major Vistas promise. That's what's going on now. More updates to follow after next rehearsal. Until then, keep on Vista-ing! – Urban Van Hoof