Friday 3 March 2023

Doncaster Jazz Orchestra

All-star big band celebrating 50 years of the Doncaster Jazz Association – featuring some Wakefield alumni such as Reuben Fowler, Rory Ingham, Matt Robinson, and Nadim Teimoori.

Since their first downbeat in 1973, the Doncaster Youth Jazz Association have been supporting the young musicians of today who will help shape the jazz scene of tomorrow. With credits including Quincy Jones, Gil Evans, the BBC Big Band, Jools Holland, Jamiroquai and the Royal Philharmonic, DYJA have alumni all around the world performing at the highest level.

To celebrate 50 years of the Jazz Association, DYJA and their founder John Ellis MBE are welcoming back many of their former members to take part in a series of concerts culminating in a recorded project with their top-tier ensemble, the Doncaster Jazz Orchestra. Featuring a stylistically diverse programme, DJO will be performing works by luminaries including Bob Florence, Bob Brookmeyer, Francy Boland, Sammy Nestico, Tom Kubis and Bob Mintzer. The orchestra will also celebrate icons of British jazz, playing original compositions by Allan Ganley, Al Wood, Laurence Cottle and Steve Parry, as well as pieces from within the orchestra.

Featuring some of the finest soloists and ensemble players in the UK, the Doncaster Jazz Orchestra continues to receive critical acclaim. Having been voted the BBC Radio Big Band of the Year, DJO’s mission has taken them around the globe. They have performed at concert venues including Ronnie Scott’s, London and the United Nations, New York, and guest artists include Thad Jones, Cat Anderson, Stan Tracy, Ronnie Scott, Humphrey Littleton, Barbara Thompson and Slide Hampton.

“…one of the most talented young bands Great Britain has to offer…” – Jack Bowers – All About Jazz

“There is not a working musician in London who doesn’t know someone that came through the Doncaster Youth Jazz Association.” – Charles Alexander – Jazzwise

Gig bio

Thad Jones composed, arranged, conducted and played trumpet and flugelhorn for the jazz orchestra he led with drummer Mel Lewis.

One of the all-time greatest jazz trumpet soloists, Thad Jones was a virtuoso trumpeter, cornetist, composer and arranger. A member of a musical family, he shared fame with his older brother Hank, a pianist, and his younger brother, Elvin, who helped redefine the art of jazz drumming.

Jones joined the Count Basie Orchestra in 1954, where he featured as a soloist on such well-known tunes as ‘April in Paris’ and ‘Shiny Stockings,’ however his main contribution to Basie’s organisation was nearly two dozen arrangements and compositions. After leaving Basie in 1963 for New York, he and drummer Mel Lewis formed the Thad Jones/Mel Lewis Orchestra (now the Vanguard Jazz Orchestra,) which has maintained a Monday-night residency at the Village Vanguard jazz club for five decades. The Jones/Lewis Orchestra was an unusual band, creating new styles in an era when big bands were unpopular and remaining integrated during racially tense periods, and has since become arguably the most influential big band since the swing era.

The Doncaster Jazz Orchestra gives a centenary performance in honour of the great Thad Jones, featuring a stellar line-up of jazz soloists and ensemble players. With a blend of cutting-edge arrangements and infectious, rhythmic energy (so characteristic of Jones’ pen) this concert celebrates why Jones’ music remains some of the most important ever recorded in jazz.

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