Big Band of the Week – The Shades of Blue Orchestra

One of the busier big bands in Baltimore is The Shades of Blue Orchestra, founded in 1976. The smooth, polished, swinging sounds of this ensemble can be heard via a wide array of audio tracks on its website. There are about two dozen longer clips on the band’s Jukebox webpage, each 90 seconds, and each presenting a flowing montage of snippets from the whole tune. | Read more>>

Big Band of the Week – Reisterstown Jazz Ensemble

The Reisterstown Jazz Ensemble bills itself as a “band for all occasions”: weddings, stage concerts, dances, jazz festivals, rock concerts — even funerals. You name it. Band director, trumpeter, and vocalist Scott Cater, who founded the band in 1992 along with lead trumpeter Scott Bowers, his former bandmate at Franklin High School, says he never wanted the band to get pigeonholed into one style of music. | Read more>>

Big Band of the Week – Ken Ebo Jazz Orchestra

It’s a wonder Frosty the Snowman can survive the smoking-hot playing of the Ken Ebo Jazz Orchestra. “Frosty the Snowman,” the venerable Christmas tune first recorded by Gene Autry in 1950, is one of several holiday favorites performed by Ebo’s swinging 28-piece ensemble at its annual concerts in support of the U.S. | Read more>>

Big Band of the Week – Columbia Jazz Band

Visit the bustling website of the Columbia Jazz Band (thejazzband.com) and you’ll get a feel for the fast-paced, globetrotting lifestyle of this swinging 22-piece ensemble. There are video clips from the band’s international tours and audio tracks from its two CDs, with the music ranging from Swing Era classics such as “Tuxedo Junction” and “Jumpin’ at the Woodside” to Latin-infused bebop standards like “A Night in Tunisia,” bluesy 1960s tunes like “Watermelon Man,” and cool bossa novas such as “Quiet Nights of Quiet Stars.” There are also summaries and photos of recent performances in the Baltimore-Washington area, and notices about upcoming local gigs, including an April 27 concert titled “April in Paris: The Music of Count Basie.” The April concert has special significance for the band, explains CJB manager Bob Frantz, who also plays bass trombone with the group: “This is the first time the CJB has organized [its own] ticketed performance,” he notes. | Read more>>

Big Band of the Week – Bel Air Community Jazz Ensemble

If you’re looking for a group that honors the classic tradition of the Big Band Era, the Bel Air Community Jazz Ensemble fits the bill. Go to a performance and you’re likely to hear evergreens such as “In the Mood” from Glenn Miller and “It Don’t Mean a Thing” from Duke Ellington. | Read more>>