The Brian Setzer Orchestra

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The Brian Setzer Orchestra
Brian Setzer performs with his orchestra in the East Room of the White House.jpg
The Brian Setzer Orchestra playing in the East Room of the White House.
Background information
Also known as BSO
Origin United States
Genres Swing revival, jump blues, rockabilly, rock and roll
Years active 1990–present
Labels Interscope, Hollywood, Surfdog
Associated acts The Tomcats, The Stray Cats, Brian Setzer and The Nashvillains

The Brian Setzer Orchestra (sometimes known by its initials BSO) is a swing and jump blues band formed in 1990 by Stray Cats frontman Brian Setzer. The group covered Louis Prima's "Jump Jive an' Wail", which appeared on Prima's 1957 album The Wildest!. The BSO's follow up single was "Gettin' In the Mood."


In 1990, Setzer organized the orchestra, styled as a big band which included full sections of trumpet, trombone and saxophone players, and a rhythm section with Setzer on guitar and vocals. There is also piano, upright slap bass and drums in the band. The orchestra began playing clubs in and around Los Angeles, USA and was eventually signed to Hollywood Records. The band was notable as being the first ever big band to be led by a guitar, and Setzer has talked about how he knew at the time it was "something that had not been done before, there had not been a guitar, leading a big band".[1]

The band was also notable for mixing rockabilly/rock and roll with big band swing.

The group released its first two albums in 1994 and 1996. There had been a change of labels, to Interscope Records. The band also had a slight change in orchestration, dropping the piano player. They were followed by The Dirty Boogie (1998), a mix of Setzer-penned originals and covers of swing standards. The orchestra then embarked on several U.S. and world tours.

The album Vavoom! followed, then in the early 2000s two albums of Christmas music and several supporting tours. The orchestra added two backing vocalists, one of whom, Julie Reiten, eventually became Setzer's wife.[citation needed]

Setzer persuaded Frank Comstock, who had made an arrangement of "The Nutcracker Suite" on one of the Christmas albums and then retired, to create arrangements for Setzer's 2007 album, Wolfgang's Big Night Out. The orchestra cancelled its 2008 Christmas tour but went back on the road in 2009.

In 2009 the orchestra released a new album titled Songs from Lonely Avenue. This was the first album to feature all original songs written by Setzer. Frank Comstock also worked on horn and string arrangements for the album.


As of 2013:

  • Brian Setzer (main leader, guitar and vocals)
  • Tim Messina (tenor sax, clarinet)
  • Eric Morones (alto sax, clarinet, flute)
  • Jeremy Lappitt (alto sax, clarinet, flute)
  • Jim Youngstrom (tenor sax, bass clarinet)
  • Sean Franz (baritone sax, clarinet)
  • Ron Blake (trumpet)
  • James Blackwell (trumpet)
  • Sean Billings (trumpet)
  • Brian Scanlon (trumpet)
  • Pete Emblom (trombone)
  • Kevin Esposito (trombone)
  • Kerry Loeschen (trombone)
  • Robbie Hioki (bass trombone)
  • Johnny Hatton (bass)
  • Daniel Glass (drums, percussion)
  • Julie Reiten (vocals)
  • Janick Lafreniere (piano)
  • Leslie Spencer (vocals)
  • James Gerber (berimbau)

Former members[edit]

  • Bernie Dresel (drums, percussion)
  • Tony Pia (drums, percussion)
  • Mark Winchester (bass)
  • Joie Shettler (vocals)
  • Beth Curry (vocals)
  • Sara Mann (vocals)
  • Kye Palmer (trumpet)
  • Willie Murillo (trumpet)
  • Charlie Biggs (trumpet)
  • Dan Fernero (trumpet)
  • John Fumo (trumpet)
  • Stan Watkins (trumpet)
  • Sal Cracchiolo (trumpet)
  • Kevin Norton (trumpet)
  • Claude Cailliet (trombone)


The BSO often plays during the December holidays covering Christmas songs, and plays the Rockefeller Center tree-lighting ceremony. Setzer tunes have been used in commercials.[2]


Brian Setzer Orchestra[edit]

  • Summer Tour 1997
  • The Dirty Boogie Summer Tour 1998
  • The Dirty Boogie Fall Tour 1998
  • Let's Live It Up World Tour 1999
  • Here I Go Again Draggin' 16 Guys Around The World Tour
  • Japan Tour 2002
  • Japan Tour 2003
  • Winter Christmas Tour 2003
  • Japan Tour 2004
  • Winter Christmas Tour 2005
  • Winter Christmas Tour 2006
  • Winter Christmas Tour 2007
  • Japan Tour 2009
  • Winter Christmas Tour 2009
  • 10th Anniversary "Christmas Rocks!" Tour 2013

The Nashvillains[edit]

  • Rockabilly Riot European Tour 2005
  • Japan Tour 2006



Studio albums[edit]

Compilations and live albums[edit]

Live DVDs[edit]


External links[edit]