After practically 40 years in the business, DR Big Band has played its way into the heavy-weights of the Danish and International history of jazz. The orchestra was formed in 1964 and has been counted among the international elite jazz ensembles ever since, with bandleaders such as Ib Glindeman, Ray Pitts, Palle Mikkelborg, Thad Jones, Ole Kock Hansen, Bob Brookmeyer and since 1998: Jim McNeely. Hundreds of other famous guest musicians, bandleaders and arrangers have also worked with the orchestra on specific occasions. The list of collaborators includes names such as Miles Davis, Van Morrison, David Sanborn, Stan Kenton, Stan Getz, Dizzy Gillespie, George Russell, Manhattan Transfer, John Scofield, Toots Thielemans, McCoy Tyner, Maria Schneider, Oliver Nelson, Martial Solal, Tom Harrell and Benny Golson.
The 20 musicians who make up DR Big Band are some of the most outstanding jazz musicians in Denmark. For instance, the roster currently includes Uffe Markussen, Lars Møller, Nikolaj Bentzon, Thomas Ovesen, Thomas Fryland and Henrik Bolberg together with the Swedes Vincent Nilsson, Anders "Chico" Lindvall and Anders Gustafsson. Previously, well-known jazzmusicians such as Niels-Henning Ørsted Pedersen, Jesper Thilo, Allan Botschinsky and Bent Jædig have all been a part of the ensemble.
DR Big Band is used to giving concerts in Denmark as well as abroad. Last year's season (2002/2003), for example, saw the orchestra both on various tours in Denmark and in Toronto, Boston, New York, Vienna, London, Vilnius and Helsinki. Without revealing too much at this moment, we can disclose some of the preliminary plans for the upcoming season (2003/2004).
In addition to several concerts in Denmark, DR Big Band will be touring Europe with Toots Thielemanns, Maria Schneider and Ivan Lins as well as participate in a workshop in Cuba. We are also working on getting the orchestra to perform at Blue Note's various music venues in Asia during late March 2004.
This season in Denmark, we will --as usual-- hear DR Big Band in collaboration with some of the most outstanding artists in the country. On the Christmas tour the orchestra will bee joined by Søs Fenger and Anders Blichfeldt who will sing a repertoire of popular christmas carols and in january Etta Cameron will be in front of the orchestra with a programme of swinging soul- and jazzstandarts.
All in all, DR Big Band maintains its active role in the Danish jazz scene as well as its distinguished and busy job as a representative of DR and Denmark abroad. DR Big Band's 40th anniversary next year could be the right opportunity to provide the orchestra with the suitable nickname: DR's National Jazz Team.