Ithaca College Concerts

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Vanguard Jazz OrchestraVanguard Jazz Orchestra
Friday, March 27, 2009

8:15 p.m., Ford Hall

The Vanguard Jazz Orchestra is the current title for an ensemble that began life as the Thad Jones-Mel Lewis Orchestra in 1966 and has performed continuously ever since.

In 1966, the cornetist, composer, and arranger Thad Jones and drummer Mel Lewis founded a band in New York. Having settled in the city after leaving their respective touring jobs with Count Basie and Stan Kenton, Thad and Mel, along with many of their colleagues, needed an outlet for their creative energies and relief from the tedium of the studio work. With a handful of arrangements they approached legendary club owner Max Gordon and were booked at the Village Vanguard for three Mondays in February. Critical acclaim, awards and international success soon followed.

The original three weeks have become a permanent gig that has survived over three decades as well as a name change to the Vanguard Jazz Orchestra. Several of the current key members played for Thad Jones, so the orchestra's unique sound and swing are proudly held and displayed, while other original precepts of creativity and experimentation are nurtured and encouraged.

The Village Vanguard is still a great place to be on a Monday night -- no matter which side of the bandstand you're on.

Vanguard Jazz Orchestra Website


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