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American Jazz Orchestra

In 1985, when jazz critic Gary Giddins was told by producer Roberta Swann that she was thinking of putting together a modern classical ensemble, he suggested that she help create a jazz repertory orchestra instead. With John Lewis as the musical director, the American Jazz Orchestra had their debut concert in 1986, playing works associated with Duke Ellington, Jimmie Lunceford, Fletcher Henderson, Count Basie, and Dizzy Gillespie. Two recordings resulted (tributes to Ellington and Lunceford), which often found the all-star players re-creating recorded solos. But when funding eventually ran out in the early '90s, the American Jazz Orchestra slipped away into history.
© Scott Yanow /TiVo


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