With big bands back in fashion, there's no shortage of large ensemble jazz to be heard, even in the jazz hinterland of Ohio. With The Colors Of Jazz, the Columbus Jazz Orchestra gives the Buckeye State its due, drawing from a palette of traditional big band favorites, tastefully selected hard bop tunes and original compositions.
Led by versatile trumpeter and conductor Byron Stripling, the CJO swings confidently in the brassy tradition of Basie or Armstrong rather than the modern styles of Charles Tolliver or The Mingus Big Band. The disc even opens with Stripling taking an Armstrong-style vocal turn on ...read more
The Columbus Jazz Orchestra has passed its thirtieth anniversary with no visible sign of slowing down. On the contrary, the ensemble has gained new life and evinces a fresh spirit under artistic director Bryon Stripling, whose genial persona enlivens The Colors of Jazz and makes listening more fun than ever.
The sense of merriment is immediately clear on the frisky opener, Sweet Georgia Brown, wherein Stripling not only sings but plays a down-home New Orleans-style trumpet, as he does later on the heart-tugging anthem Do You Know What It Means to Miss New Orleans? There's one other vocal, by urbane ...read more
It may come as a surprise, but the Columbus Jazz Orchestra has more season ticket holders that the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra, and it plays a series of concerts to packed houses every year. All this even in a town like Columbus, Ohio, which is not exactly known as a jazz mecca.
What is the secret of their success? Two things. First, artistic director Byron Stripling is dedicated to putting on an entertaining show instead of treating jazz as an artifact. Second, Stripling also pulls songs from the entire history of jazz to build the band's book, and thus fans ...read more
When Kenny Drew Jr. came into town as a guest soloist with the Columbus Jazz Orchestra, he couldn't believe he'd be performing six shows. He wondered who exactly the audience would be.
In a similar fashion, when Byron Stripling took over as artistic director for the CJO, many people asked him which university had hired him. They didn't understand that we weren't affiliated with a school, he said. Apparently most people can't seem to get their minds around the concept of a professional jazz orchestra that isn't affiliated with a university and plays 40 shows a year.read more
The Columbus (Ohio) Jazz Orchestra (formerly known as the Jazz Arts Group of Columbus), still spry and flourishing after 25 years — quite an accomplishment for a community–based Jazz ensemble — has produced marvelous recordings in the past with such eminent guest artists as clarinetist Eddie Daniels and saxophonist Benny Golson. On Band at Work, which encompasses concert dates from 1989–98, the CJO is on its own and none the worse for it. Artistic director Ray Eubanks always has the troops ready to skirmish, and they are at the top of their game throughout this varied and picturesque album of ...read more