The award-winning Ellington Big Band will pay a return visit to the Arizona Senior Academy on Tuesday (May 24) for a mid-day concert designed to delight listeners with big-band jazz numbers from the 1920s through the 1950s.
The band is part of the Tucson Jazz Institute, a community music school that provides innovative programs to nurture budding musicians. The Institute offers music education taught by seasoned professionals in an extraordinarily flexible, positive and stimulating environment.
Earlier this month the 24-member band placed third in the annual Essentially Ellington high school jazz band competition sponsored by Jazz at Lincoln Center in New York City. They competed against 3,700 other bands in the competition, regarded as the top festival for high school level jazz bands in the U.S. For the past seven years, the Tucson band has finished either first, second or third—the only band in America to accomplish such a feat.
And next month, DownBeat Magazine, considered the bible of jazz publications, will name the Ellington Big Band the No. 1 high school jazz band in America.
The band’s director, Doug Tidaback, was the tenured bass trombonist of the Monterey Symphony from 1985 to 1994 and was a lead trombonist with the Jimmy Dorsey Orchestra for 10 years
At their ASA performance, the band will play a number of big band jazz standards by the likes of Duke Ellington, Count Basie, Buddy Rich, and Mary Lou Williams. Included in the program will be the three pieces they played for a sold-out audience at Lincoln Center on the evening they were named to the top three in this year’s competition.
The free concert begins at 11:30 a.m. The band brought the house down when it performed at the Senior Academy last spring, and reservations are strongly advised for Tuesday’s performance by calling 647-0980.
Written by Mike Maharry, Academy Village Volunteer