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Indiana’s Symphony of Big Band Jazz

The nationally-recognized Indianapolis Jazz Orchestra (IJO) is Indiana’s premier professional repertory large jazz ensemble as well as being the state’s official ambassadors of big band jazz.  Composed of the leading professional instrumentalists and vocalists from the Central Indiana area, the IJO was created to preserve and advance the entire dynamic history of the big band.  Patterned after popular bands, both past and present, the IJO is committed to performing world-class musical arrangements based on classic tunes from the Great American Songbook.  In addition to performing the best of the traditional big band repertoire, the IJO also features outstanding new arrangements and compositions.  

Since September of 2001, the Indianapolis Jazz Orchestra has presented a successful yearly concert series to the Indianapolis metro area. Beautiful and historic venues like the Athenaeum Theatre, the Scottish Rite Cathedral, the Indiana State Museum, and the Indiana Roof Ballroom frequently serve as hosts for this series.  Regularly selected as “best live-entertainment picks” by local media, IJO performances have earned a reputation as being both entertaining and having outstanding general-audience appeal. 

In addition to their own concert series, the Indianapolis Jazz Orchestra is regularly invited to perform at many of the best concert venues throughout Indiana and in other states.  These venues include the Warren Performing Arts Center in Indianapolis, the Paramount Theatre in Anderson, the Foellinger Theater in Fort Wayne, the Minnetrista Center in Muncie, the Honeywell Performing Arts Center in Wabash, and the Virginia Theater in Champaign Illinois.  The IJO is also a popular repeat performer at numerous statewide summer outdoor concert series’. 

The musicians of the Indianapolis Jazz Orchestra are among the best and busiest professionals in Central Indiana and in the Midwest.  Besides performing with the IJO, these talented artists perform with many other widely-varied professional ensembles.  These include symphony orchestras, big dance bands, jazz combos, pit orchestras for musical theater, brass quintets, rock & roll bands, and many other bands of all shapes and sizes.  Many have performed all across the country and throughout the world with touring acts, on cruise ships, at theme parks, with military bands, and with top-ranked collegiate groups. Most have also been members of back-up bands and orchestras for nationally known entertainers and for famous jazz artists.   

The Indianapolis Jazz Orchestra has created an impressive recording legacy, having recorded five commercially-successful CD’s that have been critically acclaimed both nationally and locally.  The IJO operates entirely under the auspices of the Jazz Arts Society of Indiana, a not-for-profit, 501-3c performing arts corporation. 
 


IJO CD Reviews

“If big bands really are dead, as I’ve often heard, why is it that world-class ensembles like the Indianapolis Jazz Orchestra keep springing up like weeds almost everywhere one looks in this great country of ours? ...this CD was most definitely a close encounter of the eye-opening (and jaw-dropping) kind.”

“...The IJO relies heavily on its stable of talented arrangers, and they come through with flying colors on every number, breathing new life into old standards, sculpting handsome original compositions, and even revitalizing the traditional hymn Amazing Grace.”

“To say that the IJO is impressive is to understate the case. This is an orchestra that starts at impressive and keeps getting better. ...A blue-ribbon winner? No doubt about it.”
–Jack Bowers, Allaboutjazz.com

Your CD is one of the hottest new big band albums I've heard in a long time. Not only do the charts sound fresh on the air but the CD has generated a number of requests from listeners as well. And the CD is impeccably engineered. I give it a 10! I'll be playing this magnificent CD for a long time.
–Ross Gentile, "Standards in Jazz," WSIE Radio, St. Louis, MO

"I am always looking for new and exciting music to present to our listeners here in Central New York...I flipped when I heard your CD. The record swings like nothing I've heard in recent memory. Indianapolis jazz fans are lucky to have you guys."
– Eric Cohen, Music Director, WAER Radio, Syracuse, NY

"Very fresh and interesting arrangements and lots of entertaining, but musically aware performances. ...A CD that I will NOT just put on the shelf,  but enjoy over and over!"
–Mike Vax, band leader, soloist, and former Stan Kenton lead trumpet player

"The band romps through a blend of five originals, seven jazz arrangements of standards and Broadway tunes, and a killer brass quintet chart of Amazing Grace. This is tight, enthusiastic ensemble work of punching precision with fresh interpretations of classic big band lore."
– Chuck Workman, Nuvo Newsweekly, Indianapolis

"...shows a lot of love for the art form. ...If I may mention (vocalist) Lydia Clowers, Her pitch and phrasing are just impeccable; (trombone soloist) Ryan Fraley; (alto sax soloist) Scott Hobson, great bebop style; (drummer) Ralph Johnson for his energy and the great ability to hold everything tightly together in all styles; (lead trumpet player) Jeff Anderson, for his consistency; and (flugel horn soloist) Don Smith in Midnight In Little Chicago for his beautiful musical soul."
– Jens Wendelboe, noted Norwegian composer, big band leader, and currently Music Director for Donna Summer

"...Fantastic production, great tunes and arrangements.  (In particular) Lush Life is remarkable in its complexity... It’s one of the great tunes of all time and deserves this sophisticated embrace. Bravo!"
– James Grant, noted American composer

"Really like it...the band is very good.
You should be proud..."
– John LaBarbera, noted big band composer, arranger, and jazz trumpeter, former Buddy Rich band member and arranger

The ensemble and "the books" deserve plaudits for The 'Tooth, with its blend of eccentric swagger and mockery, and the brass-chorale like bookending of a fervent Amazing Grace. The Latin groove imparted to Body and Soul serves it well, and the arrangement builds convincingly to the sort of grandeur listeners for decades have turned to big bands for.
–Jay Harvey, Indianapolis Star


 REVIEWS FOR IJO PERFORMANCES

“Duke Ellington tribute hits its mark with spirit and disciplined sound”
–The Indianapolis Star

“Under the artistic direction of trumpeter Jeff Anderson, the program offered a consistently solid tribute to the music of Duke Ellington.”
–The Indianapolis Star

(Referring to the IJO's "Concert on the Canal")
"Jazz flows smooth and sassy on the canal"
–The Indianapolis Star

"(IJO vocalist, Jalean) Addington purred out (Cole) Porter's classically clever lyrics to Let's Do It, her smooth phrasing and feeling for rhythm getting firm underpinning from the band."
–The Indianapolis Star

"(IJO vocalist, Jalean) Addington smoldering Georgia on My Mind and (IJO vocalist, Rick) Vale's ardent Embraceable You showed how readily they can take advantage of the band's sturdy support."  
 –The Indianapolis Star

“Nostalgia loomed large...the hits poured forth” 
–The Indianapolis Star

“The whole band swelled each golden phrase blissfully...”
–The Indianapolis Star

“A dancer’s delight...”
–The Indianapolis Star

“One wishes the Indianapolis Jazz Orchestra good luck in reaching a broad public in concert settings...”
–The Indianapolis Star

“Every time I hear the IJO and its impressive vocalist(s), I’m reminded how they continue to keep alive a great American tradition. If you haven’t heard them yet, you are in for a treat.” 
 –Nuvo Magazine

“(A highlight of the Indy Jazz Fest was) the Indianapolis Jazz Orchestra’s strong, agile set of swing-band favorites and a few originals, capped by the stirring vocals of Jalean Addington.”
–The Indianapolis Star