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Chetham's Big Band and Jazz Ensembles

Chetham’s Big Band was formed in 1990 and has since enjoyed much success on the national jazz scene and laid the foundation for the schools current broad-based and highly successful Jazz Programme.  


Above - 'The Way We Were' performed by Chetham's Big Band

Alongside our Big Band Directors Richard Isles and Jim Muirhead, the team of Jazz tutors includes Steve Berry, Les Chisnell, Iain Dixon, Dave Walsh and Sophie Hastings. The programme is co-ordinated by Dave Chatterton, Head of Brass & Percussion.

The Big Band has broadcast on Jazz FM and won the prize for professionalism in the Daily Telegraph Young Jazz Competition. It has also won the Junior Section of the BBC Radio 2 Big Band of the Year Competition in 1996, 2000 and 2005, and in 2001 was runner up in the Senior Section. The Big Band has broadcast for the BBC from London's Golders Green Hippodrome and Birmingham's Pebble Mill Studios, as well as having been awarded the Gold Award at the Boosey and Hawkes National Concert Band Festival on numerous occasions.

Chetham's Big Bands and Jazz Ensembles have worked with such eminent jazz musicians as Don Lusher, Bobby Shew, Mark Nightingale, Jiggs Wigham, Tim Garland, Frank Mantooth, Pete King, Bob Mintzer, Malcolm Creese, Jim Hart, Paul Clarvis, Alan Barnes, Kenny Baker and John Escreet.

In May 2007 John Dankworth and his Quartet performed in a concert at Chetham's in a programme featuring John Dankworth’s compositions for Big Band. During November 2008 the school welcomed Acoustic Triangle, the celebrated trio featuring Tim Garland, Malcolm Creese and Chetham's ex-student Gwilym Simcock in a day of workshops culminating in an evening concert at the school. In addition to the Big Band, the Jazz Orchestra provides similar opportunities for younger players, and there are coaching and improvisation classes for smaller jazz ensembles as well as specialist theory, aural and transcription classes. Chetham’s ensembles regularly play in the ‘Picture House’ at Band on the Wall, and Chetham’s Big Bands will be playing at the venue in June 2010. The Big Band’s CD recording is entitled "Good News".

Above - Chetham's Big Band performing at Wigan Jazz Club (photos courtesy of Alan White and Wigan Jazz Club)