The Jazz Orchestras
In the second
half of the twentieth century, a standard 17-piece instrumentation evolved, for
which many commercial arrangements are available. This instrumentation consists
of five saxophones (most often two
(including one bass trombone) and a four-piece rhythm section (composed of
However, variants to this instrumentation are common. Composers, arrangers, and
bandleaders have utilized sections with more or fewer players, and additional
instruments, such as
and string section. Male and female vocalists have also joined big bands to
perform particular arrangements.
Some arrangements call for saxophone players to double on other woodwind
instruments, such as
Trumpet players are sometimes called upon to use various sound-changing mutes or
In some rhythm sections, a guitar player is omitted. Players in the rhythm
section may be called upon to play acoustic or electric instruments. Latin or
other auxiliary percussion instruments may be added.
Typical big band
of the swing period are written in
with the same phrase and chord structure repeated several times. Each iteration,
or chorus, most commonly follows
Twelve bar blues
Thirty-two-bar (AABA) song form.
The first chorus of an arrangement typically introduces the melody, and is
followed by subsequent choruses of development. This development may take the
form of improvised solos, written
An arrangement's first chorus is sometimes preceded by an introduction, which
may be as short as a few measures or may extend to chorus of its own. Many
arrangements contain an interlude, often similar in content to the introduction,
inserted between some or all choruses. Other methods of embellishing the form
include modulations and cadential extensions.
Scottish National Jazz
Orchestra The great saxophonist
Joe Henderson used to say that a jazz orchestra should have all the colour and
power of a big band and yet be as mobile as a quartet. While regularly paying
heed to Henderson’s wishes since playing its first concerts in 1995, the
Scottish National Jazz Orchestra has added another quality by being as malleable
as Plasticine. Under the sure direction of Tommy Smith, SNJO has moulded and
remoulded itself into the shape and character of the classic big bands of
Ellington, Basie, Kenton and now Herman, and moved forward to interpret Monk,
Mingus and Coltrane in the spirit of these idiosyncratic giants. It has taken
further leaps into the latin and rock infused compositions of Chick Corea and
Pat Metheny and proved its astonishing versatility by commissioning
and performing brave new works by the
English maverick Keith Tippett, the Gil Evans of
our times, Maria Schneider, and members of the
Providing an opportunity for gifted
young musicians from all over Britain to meet together regularly and to play big
band jazz to a very high standard and excellence. Enabling young musicians to
gain experience of working to high professional standards in major concert halls
and theatres. Sharing the talents of these exciting
young players with the general public through concert performances, recordings
and radio and TV programmes.
Commissioning new works from British composers, arrangers and song-writers.
Introducing and nurturing a love of jazz amongst school children.
Increasing the awareness and enjoyment of jazz amongst as wide an audience as
Bill Ashton MD
Paul Michael (bass guitar); David Ingamells (drums); Will Bartlett (Technics
Johnny Mott, Jean-Paul Gervasoni, Alex Maynard, Mark Perry, Henry Armburg-Jennings
Rhys Smith (bass trombone), Natalie Witts, Richard Wigley, Jon Hill, Faye Treacy
Saxophones :- Phil Knights (baritone), Richard Shepherd (tenor), Tommy Laurence
(lead alto), Tommy Andrews (alto), Dave Shulman (tenor); Emily Hall (flute ).
Atila Huseyin, Sarah Hughes, Emma Smith and Francesca Lewis Vocals
Richards Orchestra Tom is a mere 26
and only graduated from the Royal Academy of Music four years ago.
However, the music on his debut album sounds like the work of someone much
older, though there's also a youthful exuberance at work that's distinctly
The cast list for the Tom Richards Orchestra runs to no less than 23
contributors. The large forces at the composer's disposal are experienced
enjoyably both as backdrop to initially brief, snakey solos and as musical
gestures in themselves.
There's no sense, however, of ponderousness - the music is lithe, fast moving
and lusciously rich. Richards' arrangements are intricate without any
intimations of fussiness.
The music is at times suddenly joyous in a way that's reminiscent of UK forebear
Loose Tubes or the Pat Metheny Group.
Steve Taylor Big Band - Buddy Rich Tribute - channel-1-suite-2
World-class drum-led 17 piece big band. swing, funk & Latin mixed
with contemporary horn-charged originals,
“A SIGHT AND SOUND FOR SORE EYES AND EARS”
Steve is one of the UK’s top Drum Kit technicians, with the technique, power and
taste to bring classic Buddy Rich Big Band arrangements to life. Expect music
not heard Live since Buddy toured the UK with such success.
Channel One Suite, Good News, Love For Sale plus a healthy dose of fresh
arrangements PERSONALLY written by Buddy’s ex Tenor sax sideman and
Yellowjackets star, arranger BOB MINTZER. Featuring Top players including alto
sax star Christian Brewer, Tenor sax Vasilis Xenopolous and former young Jazz
musician of the year Trumpeter Ed Benstead In a bold move to re energise
the sound & style of one of Steve’s pre-eminent musical influences. He is
promoting the sheer excitement and raw power of a contemporary jazz big band.
Steve say’s "Rich ‘crossed-over’ to a mainstream audience thanks to numerous TV
appearances” Steve believes he can invigorate a new generation of music fans
while giving die hard Rich followers another chance to hear some of the best Big
Band music ever recorded.
Classic Rich charts combine with Fresh arrangements, overtones of Funk and Latin
flavours showcasing ‘Rich’ arrangements and Steve’s “world class” Drumming
Blake's Heaven - Oxon
Blakes Heaven are a modern big band playing
Nick Blake original compositions and
arrangements as well as some standard big band arrangements. The
music is a real challenge of technique and reading.
The line up is:
Vox - Linda Blake ,
Tenor 1 - Nick Blake (dbl: flute / Alto sax / soprano sax), Tenor 2
- Simon Carr (dbl: oboe), Alto 1 - Chuck Lloyd (dbl: flute / Alto
sax / soprano sax), Alto 2 - Otto Caretta (dbl: soprano sax),
Baritone - Joe Carey,
Bass Trombone - Malcolm Gunningham, T-Bone 1 - Bob Cronin, T-Bone 2
- Julian Hawes, T-Bone 3 - Tom,
Tpt 1 - Lloyd Payne, Tpt 2 - Paul (dbl: flugel), Tpt 3 -
Philip Dobbie, Tpt 4 - tbc (dbl: flugel), Guitar - Peter
Kingslake, Keys - Jeff Young, Electric Bass - Jez Cook
Drums - Frank Hockney
Substance - The Music of Scott Willcox
- say it aloud and you'll get the joke.
A London based big band formed of players many of whom are well known on the
London Jazz Scene including Kelvin Christiane, Steve Main, on Saxes, - Robbie
Harvey, Trombone and Alex Hutton, Piano. Album to be released shortly by -
piece Orchestra and the repertoire is all Scott Willcox Originals.
The music has been
described as possessing thoughtful and creative writing and very atmospheric.
Gil Evans meets Stravinsky for the imaginative. A more formal approach to big
band writing but still with a swing.
The Band was
launched at the Bulls Head in March
08, and further prestige Venue performances are imminent with tour
possibilities. Contact Steve above to secure this cerebral performance
They are not a powerhouse swing band - there are plenty of other line ups doing
that material very well, not to mention the Buddy Rich recordings which of
course always with us.
MD - Scott Willcox is a dedicated Suite Composer pure and simple and also plays
piano. His compulsion is to put his stuff down on paper as a Big Band Arranger.
Scott Willcox - In his own words:-
Yes, I Direct as composer/arranger. I just don't have a
lot to tell from a specifically jazz standpoint. I've been writing various music
compositions for about 35 yrs.. Jazzwise I've been heard at the Bull's Head (of
course), the Festival Hall foyer and the old Bass Clef club in Hackney which was
run by bassist Peter Ind as well as the jazz pubs. As a writer my interest is in
big bands pretty much exclusively as there's not much scope with smaller groups.
Many famous Jazz Composers and Arrangers have all said nice things about my
stuff on odd occasions but I don't have their permission to quote them and so
don't wish to, as you can understand.
Paul Jordanous Big Band
The Paul Jordanous
Big Band was formed in September 2005 and is based around Kingston-Upon-Thames.
Its musicians are plucked from an increasingly large pool of musicians who I
have worked with in separate occasions, each adding a special element towards
the band. They play a mixture of music in differing styles, from Swing and Funk,
to Latin and Bebop. Our Set List includes Standards by American Composers such
as Dizzy Gillespie and Kenny Barron, Latin specialists like Chick Corea and
Horace Silver and original compositions and arrangements by members of our Big
Nathan Hawken, Matt McNaughton, Nigel Crane,
Simon Allen, Kim Derry
Piers Green, Will Gibson, Paul Durham,
Bob Mackay, Nick Carter, Gavin Yong,
Josh Ison, Tom Stone
Paul Summers, Jon O' Neil,
Anna Jordanous, Alana Mullen
Andy Gibson, Mark Perry, Pete Cooper
Tom Fennell, Giles Straw, Paul Jordanous, Graham Russell,
Miles Levoga, Trevor Solomon, Yazz Ahmed
Jon Bird, Mike Wood, Shay Mackintyre,
Genni Kurd, John Brooks,
Alana Mullen, Gavin Yong, Matt McNaughton
Alan Durham, Simon Allen
Bastrup, Mike Wood, Nathaniel Keen
Simon Allen, Dave Johnston,
Holley Gray, Mike Wood
Willie Garnett Big Band
Garnett, a jovial and enthusiastic performance on tenor and alto sax is a
fixture on the London jazz scene. Only last year he celebrated 50 years as a
saxophonist and bandleader. Alongside his jazz activities, Willie has made a
successful career as an accomplished repairer of musical instruments. The 16
piece orchestra is expected to include in the front line on saxophones Canadian
Mike Coates, Kelvin Christiane and Alex Garnett son of bandleader Willie
Garnett. Amongst other band members are American trumpeter Jim Barton,
trombonist Malcolm Cliff and pianist Frank Toms.
Abingdon Swing Time Band
Abingdon Swing Time is a 17-piece orchestra playing the
music of Glenn Miller, Count Basie, Benny Goodman etc. They perform at a variety
of Oxfordshire gigs, including: Oxford College Balls, Dinner Dances at the
Abingdon Guildhall, Remembrance Day at the Royal British Legion and charity
events throughout the year.
information please email them on
Bucks Berks Orchestra Big Band - BBO
The highly acclaimed BBO (Bucks, Berks, and Oxon.) Big Band
feature repertoire of well-known music as played by such Big Bands as Glenn
Miller, Woody Herman, Artie Shaw, Benny Goodman and many others .
piece big band performs from a formidable library of music ranging from the
standards of Ellington, Miller and Basie through the genres of be-bop and cool
to the more modern sounds of Ferguson and Nestico. Roy Hole formed the band in
1986 to give local musicians a chance to play some of the best swing and jazz
charts available. The BBO Big Band went on to earn a Queen's Award for their
founder in recognition of the amount of money raised by performing for various
charities. The band continues this worthy cause as well as playing for private
functions. The seventeen musicians, complimented by the vocal talents of Trisha
Basset and Steve Bailey and under the direction of Bill Skelton, can be heard in
concert on the last Thursday of every month at the British Legion Club,
Marlow, Buckinghamshire. Also
Patrick Kelly founded Berks
Youth Jazz Orchestra – now PENDULUM – for the pure love of the music and the
necessity he felt to spread the word to young people. His enthusiasm and drive
have taken the band to great heights of ability and creativity. B.Y.J.O. is
internationally acclaimed and is named by its peers as “a prep. college for
young jazz musicians” and is one of the finest young Jazz orchestras in the
country. Performance of original material by the band is a vital part of
Patrick’s philosophy and he has always encouraged its members to compose: they
now boast a collection of excellent material from within their ranks, over a
wide range of styles and mood. He also calls on colleagues in the music
profession to compose and perform their compositions with the Orchestra.
The complete educational aspect is strong and vital in the band and has
been sustained throughout its entire development. In the 31-year history of the
Orchestra, it has been the training ground for many of the top session and Jazz
players. Its high level of professional performance is always evident at every
concert and endorsed by the list of Jazz names who frequently guest with the
band bringing together some of the finest Jazz musicians in the UK – from
performers with 30 years experience to younger stars who will quite clearly be
tomorrow’s innovators. The commissioned works brought forth a cornucopia
of styles and moods which had to be recorded and a double CD was produced. The
Album was nominated as UK’s Jazz CD of the year. The Pendulum Swings!
West Big Band - Swindon
MWBB _ 16 Piece Orchestra with Vocalist Julie
McKellar - Play a wide range of music from the period of Glen Miller and Benny
Goodman up to arrangements from the contemporary National Youth Jazz Orchestra.
Len Morphew Musical Director is well steeped in music of the Swing Era.
Available for Corporate functions Outdoor Events or Dance Halls - Contact Dave
Pinch, Trombone 01793 813773 or Len Morphew, MD 01793 875290
Lucy Bridewell - Alto, Judith Pullen - Alto & Clarinet, Len Morphew - Tenor and Flute,
Linda Duncan - Tenor, Frank Jeffcutt - Baritone
Bob Field - Trumpet, John Drew - Trumpet and Flugelhorn, Gerry Mason - Trumpet,
Dave Maguire - Trombone, Dave Pinch - Trombone.
Dave Prosser - Drums Andy MaGuire - Bass, Martin Low - Piano, Ken Jell
Thanks for the mention of the Mid West Big Band on your site.
I am starting a jazz and blues radio programme myself in January on Swindon
105.5, a new community radio station. Unfortunately it can only be picked up on
FM (105.5) within the area of greater Swindon, but we hope to go out on the web
too. It will be broadcast between 7 and 9 pm on a Monday evening and I hope to
feature as much local talent as possible. Len Morphew.
Hot Orange Big Band - London
ORANGE BIG BAND. This is a fabulous 17 piece Big Band run by Dave Hammer and
Richard Pywell. Like all good bands it's been playing on the scene regularly for
some years now and features amongst others Greg Heath-sax and Paul
Carmichael-bass, as well as a number of players from the iconic British big
band, Loose Tubes. The Big Band format is probably one of the most
exhilarating in jazz, and this 17 piece Band is certainly one of the best
This is a very impressive
by two players from the seminal British Band “Loose Tubes” and, like all the Big
Bands, the Jazz soloing is very strong. The music is invariably interesting and
Puddick Big Band
Amongst the lineup Sam Bullard, Robin Fincker and Mark Hanslip: saxes
Percy Pursglove, Noel Langley:Tpt , Jim Rattigan: french Horn,
Simon Walker,Mike Feltham and Alan Hardiman: Tmbs,
Chris Alard: GTR, Richard Barr: drums
Pete Cater Big Band is probably the
tightest, hippest most dynamic big band to be heard in the UK today. Pete and
his musicians are well aware that a band is a unit, not just a collection of
soloists. Pete's band has achieved that all-important "internal balance" in its
ensemble playing, so that it feels spot on and provides a confident bed for the
soloists. The credit for this belongs to everybody in the band- Pete for his
vision and leadership and each individual player for his ability and commitment.
But they all rely on the arrangements. Refreshingly, the materiel is mostly new
and unique to the band. Sometimes they play specially written arrangements of
standards, and sometimes entirely new compositions. Pete commissions new
materiel from some of the UK's finest young writers, and he's also brought in
American tenor saxman Frank Griffith, who studied with both Bill Finegan and Bob
Mintzer, to write some exciting originals for them.
So what is an evening with the
Pete Cater Big Band like? First, what it's not like. It's not an evening of
nostalgia, of listening to big band hits of the past, trying to simulate the
sounds of the awing era. But it is an evening of contemporary big band music,
played by some of Britain's finest young musicians, and played with verve,
conviction and enthusiasm. Critic Dave Gelly of the Observer wrote,"the sheer
unflagging drive is impressive". Chris Yates in "Jazz Rag" called the band "an
important voice in British jazz". Roy Belcher in "Big Bands International" said
it is "a band with verve, excellent, a taste of things to come".
Tommy Smith Youth Jazz Orchestra
Experience the glory of a big band with twenty
one young musicians of prowess and promise. They play a repertoire that includes
Stan Kenton, Maria Schneider, Duke Ellington, Count Basie, Oliver Nelson, Dizzy
Gillespie and Charles Mingus.
Orchestra features Philip Cardwell, Liam Heath, Alan Blair, Linsey McDonald,
Hendon Musk (tp), Billy Fleming, Dionne Copeland, Theo Forrest, Michelle Melvin,
Leah Gough Cooper, Rachel Cohen, Louise McDonald, Ben Bryden (s), Scott Annison,
Hannah Cohen, Michael Owers, Michael Campbell (tb), Chris Lyons (p), Ross Whyte
(d), Calum Gourlay (b) and Mike Nisbet (g).
The above were performing at the Aberdeen Jazz Festival 2006 and
proved to be one of the most rewarding events and certainly the most swinging
Big Band featured at the whole Festival. A great pool of young talent
motivated by the Maestro of the Saxophone who donates all his time for Charity.
Support them when and where you can as this promising unit gets no funding
Tommy Smith Website
Terry Drummond (guitar) directing
Don Innes (keyboard); Jim Pollard (bass); Bobby Orr (drums);
Duncan Campbell, David Runkel, Ron Marks (trumpets);
Jonathan Hill (trombone); Graham Willoughby (tenor), Peter Jones (alto).
Jo Marney Vocals.
This is not by any means a "big band" as we know the expression. With ten
musicians it's not really a small band and the combination of instruments is
unusual - four instruments in the rhythm section, two saxophones, one trombone
and three trumpets! But it works! Clever arranging from pianist Don Innes, and
Terry sees to that.
Walsall Jazz Orchestra
is a 19 piece big band
which, unlike the vast majority of big bands, plays contemporary, rather than
traditional big band music.
The band plays pieces written by
well known composers such as Pat Metheny, Mike Gibbs and Chick Corea, as well as
a number of original compositions.
WJO have released two CDs which
have received rave reviews in the music press.
The Open Band
The Open Band was formed in 1995
for musicians of varying abilities who want to play jazz with others and learn
more about improvisation.
The Open Band meets on Thursday evenings in Woburn Village Hall, Crawley Road,
Woburn. There is also a jazz jamming session every second Thursday in the
month when all musicians are welcome.
The Open Band performs regularly, both as a big band and also as a smaller jazz
Orchestra - Chester
Youth Jazz Orchestra
East Midlands Youth Jazz
Youth Jazz Orchestra
Oxford University Jazz Orchestra
Pendulum-Berks Youth Jazz Orchestra
of The North Jazz Orchestra
National Jazz Orchestra
Strathclyde Youth Jazz Orchestra
Sefton Youth Jazz Orchestra
Cutting Edge Big Band - Oxon
Youth Jazz Orchestra
UK Youth Jazz
Youth Jazz Orchestra