Join Doug Crane for an evening of contemporary big band recordings on the Night Beat this Wednesday, September 8, beginning at 8pm. With apologies to Carla Bley for appropriating the name of one of her big band recordings, we’re calling this show “Big Band Theory.”

While the bands you’ll hear over the course of two hours employ the same basic big band instrumentation template (trumpets, trombones, saxophones, piano, bass, drums), each has its own unique sound driven by its leader and individual musicians.

Orrin Evans’ Captain Black Big Band is more likely to focus on the “swing” element. Arturo O’Farrill’s Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra will, as the name suggests, employ more Afro-Cuban rhythms. Carla Bley’s music is both boisterous and humorous with a major focus on the individual soloists. Maria Schneider also focuses on individual soloists but her music can be far more introspective.  Darcy James Argue’s Secret Society makes use of rock rhythms and an occasional thrash guitar solo.

We could add descriptions about each and every band you’re likely to hear on Wednesday evening but the best thing you can do is simply tune in, listen and enjoy.

Besides the big bands mentioned above, you’ll hear music from Mike Holober’s Gotham Orchestra, Tim Hagans and the Norrbotten Big Band, Ed Neumeister’s Neu Hat Ensemble, John Hollenbeck and the Frankfurt Radio Big Band plus a few more, time permitting.

Pictures: top-Carla Bley’s “Big Band Theory,” Orrin Evans’ “Captain Black Big Band,” and Mike Holober’s “Gotham Jazz Orchestra”

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