2 LP 12inch
✓ in stock
17 March 2023
The Jazz Orchestra of the Concertgebouw (JOC) is one of the world’s great jazz ensembles. I’ve known some of these musicians since the late ‘90’s. But I’d never worked with the whole JOC until January 2020. Then Juan Martinez, JOC artistic director (and baritone saxophonist), emailed me. He proposed that I write a CD’s worth of music for the band, featuring all their soloists. After many more months of Zoom rehearsals (ugh!), scheduling delays, and even more Zoom (ugh!) we got into the studio in Hilversum for three intense days last November. (Jim McNeely)
The Jazz Orchestra of the Concertgebouw (JOC) – the Netherlands’ best big band with the most swing, according to many – was founded in 1996 by Henk Meutgeert and others as the New Concert Big Band. Since 1999, on the initiative of then-Concertgebouw managing director Martijn Sanders, it has proudly borne the name of Het Koninklijk Concertgebouw ['The Royal Concert Hall'].
The JOC performs worldwide with jazz greats the likes of Benny Golson and Oleta Adams and talented young blood, with José James, Christian Scott and Ruben Hein among the pool. The JOC connects with its audiences, whether in large or smaller settings and makes jazz, in the broadest sense of the word, accessible to audiences of all ages and expectations. Through its shows abroad, the JOC manages to bring Dutch jazz far afield and to the stages of famous concert halls. Approximately 35,000 visitors are drawn to the JOC's concerts each year.
Principal conductor Dennis Mackrel
As of November 2015, the JOC is led by principal conductor Dennis Mackrel (1962). Mackrel started his professional career at the age of ten and at twenty became the Count Basie band’s youngest ever drummer. Mackrel played with orchestras such as The Vanguard Jazz Orchestra, The Carla Bley Very Large Band and the Dizzy Gillespie All Star Big Band. He grew from sideman to bandleader in his many partnerships with European orchestras such as the UMO big band from Helsinki (Finland) and the WDR big band from Cologne (Germany). In 2010 he returned to the Count Basie Orchestra as bandleader, where he remained until 2013.
The partnership with the Jazz Orchestra of the Concertgebouw dates back to 2004, when he made several appearances as a drummer. Starting in 2014, Mackrel conducted the orchestra on numerous occasions, including in the historical main hall of the Concertgebouw.
As pioneers in the Dutch jazz scene, the JOC has initiated two projects for top talent in (jazz) music: Rhythm Changes and the Arrangers project. Over the course of these projects, young talent got given the opportunity to experience large(r) stages in a professional environment. These projects bring new life and new music to the big band genre and build bridges between the generations on stage as well as reach out to audiences.
Simon Rigter (Leiden, 1973), the son of saxophonist Bob Rigter, studied from 1989 to 1996 at the Royal Conservatoire in The Hague with John Ruocco. He continued his studies with Ferdinand Povel at the Hilversum Conservatory, where ge graduated in 1997.
Simon recorded with the Dutch Jazz Orchestra, The Jazz Ochestra of the Concertgebouw, The Rotterdam Jazz Orchestra, The Reeds, Curtis Fuller, Slide Hampton, John Marshall, Cees Slinger, Victor Kaihato, Peter Beets, Ruud Breus and many others. He performed with artists such as George Coleman, Elvin Jones, Joe Cohn, Jim Rotondi, Nancy Marano, Alvin Queen, Ferdinand Povel, Ruud Jacobs, Pim Jacobs, Frans Elsen, Rob van Kreefeld, Peter Beets and Marco Kegel and gave concerts in China, Denmark, Germany, Ireland, India, Israel, Jamaica and Japan. He is a member of the Dutch Jazz Orchestra, The Jazz Orchestra of the Concertgebouw, The Rotterdam Jazz Orchestra, The Reeds, Saxology and various ensembles.
Jim McNeely was born in Chicago, Illinois. He earned a Bachelor of Music degree from the University of Illinois, and moved to New York City in 1975. In 1978, he joined the Thad Jones/Mel Lewis Big Band. He spent six years as a featured soloist with that band and its successor, Mel Lewis and the Jazz Orchestra (now the Vanguard Jazz Orchestra).
In 1981, he began a four-year tenure as pianist/composer with the Stan Getz Quartet. From 1990 until 1995, he was the pianist in the Phil Woods Quintet. In 1996, he re-joined the Vanguard Jazz Orchestra as pianist. He is still associated with the Vanguard Orchestra as composer-in-residence.
From 1998 to 2002, McNeely was chief conductor of the DR Big Band in Copenhagen, Denmark. As of 2011, he was chief conductor of the HR (Hessischer Rundfunk) Big Band in Frankfurt, Germany. He is currently their Composer-in-Residence. He has appeared as guest with many of Europe's leading jazz orchestras such as the Jazz Orchestra of the Concertgebouw (the Netherlands), the WDR Big Band (Cologne, Germany), the Stockholm Jazz Orchestra (Sweden) and the Swiss Jazz Orchestra. McNeely also leads his own tentet, his own trio, and appears as soloist at concerts and festivals worldwide. He has recorded more than 20 albums as leader, receiving twelve Grammy nominations between 1997 and 2019.
As part of the Vanguard Jazz Orchestra, he received a Grammy Award for the album Monday Night Live at the Village Vanguard in 2008.
McNeely is professor emeritus at Manhattan School of Music, and is former musical director of the BMI Jazz Composers Workshop.
A former resident of Montclair, New Jersey, and Maplewood, New Jersey he now resides in Owls Head, Maine .