Since its debut on October 22, 1992, THE CARNEGIE HALL JAZZ BAND has earned a reputation as one of the most important ensembles in the world of jazz. Known for its distinct programs that feature new arrangements of landmark works, The Carnegie Hall Jazz Band, under the leadership of music director/trumpeter Jon Faddis, performs specially-commissioned new arrangements and thematic programs that salute jazz greats or new styles - always showcasing both established artists and emerging talent.
Produced by George Wein and his company, Festival Productions, Inc., and presented by Carnegie Hall, the Band has performed an annual series at Carnegie Hall, toured internationally, and recorded two CDs. The band's Carnegie Hall concert series is regularly broadcast on NPR's Jazz Set with Branford Marsalis, which is produced at WBGO-FM in Newark and airs over a network of 200 stations each week.
Among those from whom Carnegie Hall has commissioned new works and arrangements for the band are Michael Abene, Manny Albam, Muhal Richard Abrams, Toshiko Akiyoshi, Carla Bley, Garnett Brown, John Clayton, Frank Foster, Slide Hampton, Jimmy Heath, Dick Hyman, Jim McNeely, Randy Sandke, Maria Schneider, and Dennis Wilson. The band's concerts have included tributes to Count Basie, Irving Berlin, John Coltrane, Miles Davis, Benny Goodman, Johnny Mercer, and Cole Porter, as well as programs such as Ellington: A New Take, with contemporary arrangements of Ellington classics by Jimmy Heath and Jim McNeely; a recreation of Ellington's tone poem Black, Brown and Beige in celebration of the Ellington centennial; Gershwin: A Portrait in Jazz, featuring selections from Porgy and Bess, arranged by Gil Evans and led by Evans' protégé Maria Schneider; and The Blues in Jazz for which composer/bassist John Clayton's work, "Blues Panorama," commissioned for the Carnegie Hall Jazz Band, received its world premiere performance.
The Band's "who's who" roster of guest soloists has included Doc Cheatham, Shirley Horn, Diana Krall, Branford Marsalis, Wynton Marsalis, Gerry Mulligan, Joe Williams, and Cassandra Wilson, and conductors Maurice Peress and Gerald Wilson.
Among the Band's other special performances have been a 1996 all-star tribute to Clint Eastwood for his use of jazz in films, featuring Kenny Barron, James Carter, Kyle Eastwood, Jay McShann, James Moody, Lennie Niehaus, Joshua Redman, and James Rivers; and two Saturday afternoon Carnegie Hall Family Concerts that included commentary by Charlotte Blake Alston and pre-concert demonstrations by Jon Faddis and members of the Band.
The Camegie Hall Jazz Band gave its first performance outside of Carnegie Hall in October 1993, when it performed at the Berlin Jazz Festival. The Band has since toured Japan, South America, and Europe (including a tour of Italy sponsored by the Teatro Comunale di Ferrara). The Carnegie Hall Jazz Band has performed at the Hollywood Bowl and at the Tanglewood Music Festival, and made its first U.S. tour in 1996. As part of New York's annual JVC Jazz Festival, the band had two very successful joint concerts in 1994 and 1995 with the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra, titled "Battle of the Bands." In May of 1999, the band appeared at The 24th International Jazz Festival in Bern, Switzerland, in a concert entitled The CarnegieHall Jazz Band Plays the Music of Jimmy Lunceford and More.
The Band's highly acclaimed debut recording, The Carnegie Hall Jazz Band, was released on the Blue Note label in June 1996. The disc features performances of many of the original arrangements commissioned for the band, including Frank Foster's arrangement of John Coltrane's masterpiece, "Giant Steps," and arrangements by Jim McNeely of "Sing, Sing, Sing" - a hallmark of the Benny Goodman Orchestra - and the popular ballad "I'm Getting Sentimental Over You." A recording of the Clint Eastwood tribute concert, EastwoodAfter Hours: Live at Carnegie Hall, was released in September 1997 by Malpaso Records.
This concert will be the ensemble's final performance as a band.