University of London Big Band
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The University of London Big Band one of London's busiest amateur jazz orchestras. Many of their top players are on the verge of professional musical careers, and some play with the National Youth Jazz Orchestra. Others will go on to completely separate careers in merchant banks, consultancies and law firms.
The University of London Big Band is the largest group in the University of London Jazz Society. Formed in Autumn 2002, the Band represents the majority of the individual University colleges.
Their steadily rising reputation for musicianship has allowed the Big Band to build on its early successes; highlights included the King's College Law Ball held at London's famously lavish Savoy Hotel as well as events held for the RAF.
2004 was a busy year for the band, with regular gigs ranging from the expansion into the provision of small band jazz for private functions, to full-band events at weddings, bars and balls. The band also appeared at the Generations Jazz Festival, held in Bloomsbury, London, where they had the enviable opportunity to act as warm-up acts for such jazz greats as Ben Allison, and rising trombonist star Dennis Rollins, as well as a host of London-based professional jazz groups. The first ever tour, a trip to Berlin, proved to be a fantastic social event to finish off a high-flying year.
In the 2005/2006 season, under the stewardship of Laurence Page (LSE), the band continued to go from strength to strength, and benefited from a number of members participating in other ventures. The year culminated with a tour to the Algarve, Portugal in March 2006. Four gigs in five days ensured the band kept busy as well as entertaining as many people as possible.
The 2006/2007 was another successful one for the Band. Pete Long, musical director of the Ronnie Scott's Jazz Orchestra, started to coach the group, inspiring the Band and considerably raising the level of musicianship. In summer 2007, the Band toured Seville, Spain in July, they performed at the North Sea Jazz Festival in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, and in September they played at the Alma Jazz Festival in Bologna, Italy.
The band are now looking ahead to an increasingly busy 2009/10 season, under the leadership of Suzy Jackson (KCL) and continue to be coached by the world-famous Pete Long.
The band has become a focal point for much of the student jazz scene in London, with most members running spin-off niche groups (from jazz trios to funk bands to ska) within the University of London Jazz Society to complement the central big band enterprise.