The Birdland Big Band

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The Birdland Big Band is an American 15-piece (4 saxes, 4 trombones, 4 trumpets, piano, bass, drums) jazz orchestra based in New York City that performs weekly in residence at the Birdland Jazz Club. The band was the creation of, and since inception has been directed by Tommy Igoe (Thomas Robert Igoe; born 1964), son of jazz drummer Sonny Igoe (1923–2012).[1] The band is also occasionally directed by Rob Middleton, one of the band's tenor saxophonists.


The band, originally named "The Friday Night Big Band," was founded in 2006 by Tommy Igoe. The core inaugural musicians had been members of a long-standing big band in residence on Fridays at The Birdland Jazz Club founded and directed by Lew Anderson, who died May 14, 2006. Within months of launch (late 2006), Igoe re-branded the band with the namesake of its home and began building a library and repertoire of "jazz-forward" works — contemporary compositions, original arrangements, and select historical works, some forgotten or rare.

BBB performs Fridays at Birdland Jazz Club in Manhattan, mostly to near- or full-capacity audiences[2] — capacity being about 238, including the bar.[3]

Igoe is the son of drummer Sonny Igoe (né Owen Joseph Igoe; 1923–2012)[4]

Selected discography[edit]

  • The Birdland Big Band, The Lew Anderson Tribute Concert (live), I.E.G. Inc. (June 1, 2007); OCLC 271753259
Recorded live from Birdland, March 23, 2006, New York City
Chris Jaudes (lead), Nick Marchione, Joe Mosello, Leon Petruzzi, Glenn Drewes (flugelhorns, trumpets), Leo Ursini, Vinny Riccitelli (alto saxes), Rob Middleton, Jeff Newell (tenor saxes), Barbara Cifelli (bari sax), Mike Boschen, Benjamin Taber Griffin, Wyn Walshe (trombones), Dale Turk (bass trombone), Kenny Ascher (piano), Paul Adamy (bass), Tommy Igoe (director, drums)
  1. Greetings and Salutations
  2. Strike Up the Band, arranged by Lew Anderson
  3. Makin' Whoopee, arranged by Lew Anderson
  4. How High the Moon
  5. The Way You Smile
  6. Candy Is Dandy
  7. Three Little Words
  8. My Funny Valentine
  9. Ding Dong Daddy, Phil Baxter
  10. Tom's Tom Toms
  11. The Rainbow Connection, composed by Kenny Ascher, arranged by Lew Anderson
  12. Brazil
  • Tommy Igoe and the Birdland Big Band - Live From New York (released: January 1, 2009)
  • Eleven (11 compositions released 11-11-11), © 2011 Deep Rhythm Music Inc., River Edge, New Jersey; OCLC 878118822
Tracks 1, 3, 4, 5, 6, 11 recorded in August 8, 2011; tracks 2, 7, 8, 9, 10 recorded on August 9, 2011
Avatar Studios, Studio C, Manhattan, New York[5]
Nathan Childers, Matt Hong (alto sax and woodwinds); Dan Willis, Rob Middleton (tenor sax); Barbara Cifelli (bari sax); Chris Jaudes (lead on tracks 1, 3, 4, 5, 6, 11), Nick Marchione (lead on tracks 2, 7, 8, 9, 10) ‡, John Walsh, Glenn Drewes, Raul Agraz (trumpets); Andy Hunter, Isrea Butler (trombone); Jeff Nelson (bass trombone); Kenny Ascher (piano), Tom Kennedy (electric & acoustic bass); Tommy Igoe (drums, percussion, director)
Rob Paparozzi (harmonica); Hector Martignon (piano on track 8); Rolando Morales-Matos (percussion, vibes on tracks 1, 6, 8, 9, 11)
  1. New Ground, composed by Darmon A. Meader (born 1961), arranged by Nick Marchione ‡
  2. Moanin', Bobby Timmons, arranged by Robert M. Middleton (born 1958)
  3. Common Ground, Mike & Leni Stern, arranged by Tedd Firth (Theodore Charles Firth III; born 1976)
  4. Armando's Rhumba, composed by Chick Corea, arranged by Tedd Firth
  5. Got a Match?, composed by Chick Corea, arranged by Mike Bogle[6]
  6. Spherical, Michael Brecker, arranged by Robert M. Middleton (born 1958)
  7. Uncle Bob, Don Grolnick, arranged by Darmon A. Meader (born 1961)
  8. On Fire, Michel Camilo, arranged by Tedd Firth
  9. Butterfly, composed by Herbie Hancock, arranged by Robert M. Middleton (born 1958)
  10. Open Invitation, composed and arranged by Darmon A. Meader (born 1961)
  11. Alma Llanera, composed by Pedro Elías Gutiérrez, arranged by Paquito D'Rivera
† Bogle's arrangement (Got a Match?) is a new arrangement dedicated to Igoe and the Birdland Big Band. Bogle's arrangement twenty-one years earlier was nominated for Best Arrangement on an Instrumental at the 34th Grammy Awards (for recordings released between October 1, 1990 and Sep 30, 1991)
‡ Nick Marchione is the son Tony Marchione (Anthony Nicholas Marchione; 1934–1993), a renowned trumpet teacher whose pupils included Randy Brecker[7] and Lee Morgan.[8][9]


  1. ^ Biography Index. A cumulative index to biographical material in books and magazines, Volume 18: September 1992 – August 1993, H.W. Wilson Company, New York (1993)
  2. ^ Esther L. Callens (born 1961), Musical Notes, Birmingham Times, February 23, 2012
  3. ^ Tim McClelland, Eleven – Tommy Igoe and the Birdland Big Band, Jazz Fidelity (digital magazine), May 22, 2012
  4. ^ Biography Index. A cumulative index to biographical material in books and magazines, Volume 18: September 1992 – August 1993, H.W. Wilson Company, New York (1993)
  5. ^ David Weiss, Avatar Action: Sugarland, The Michele Legrand Orchestra, State Farm Was There, Sonic Scoop, October 3, 2011
  6. ^ The inside CD cover of the first release of Eleven mistakenly identified Firth as arranger of Got a Match?
  7. ^ The Biographical Encyclopedia of Jazz: Randy Brecker, by Leonard Feather & Ira Gitler, and Lee Morgan, Oxford University Press (1999 & 2007); OCLC 123233012 ISBN 019532000X
  8. ^ Jeffery S. McMillan (born 1974), A Musical Education: Lee Morgan and the Philadelphia Jazz Scene of the 1950s, Current Musicology, Columbia University, Number 71-73, Spring 2001 Spring 2002
  9. ^ Wilmer Wise (born 1936), Interviewed by Jeffery S. McMillan, Brooklyn, New York (January 10, 2000)