The Vanguard Jazz Orchestra will conclude the yearlong Ithaca College Concerts season “Ensembles Great and Small” on Friday, March 27. The performance will begin at 8:15 p.m. in Ford Hall in the James J. Whalen Center for Music. Ford Hall will also be the venue for a free workshop at 4 p.m.
The Vanguard Jazz Orchestra is an ensemble that began as the Thad Jones-Mel Lewis Orchestra in 1966 and has performed continuously ever since. In 1966, the cornetist, composer, and arranger Thad Jones and drummer Mel Lewis founded a band in New York. Having settled in the city after leaving their respective touring jobs with Count Basie and Stan Kenton, Thad and Mel, along with many of their colleagues, needed an outlet for their creative energies and relief from the tedium of studio work. With a handful of arrangements they approached legendary club owner Max Gordon and were booked at the Village Vanguard for three Mondays in February. Critical acclaim, awards and international success soon followed.
The original three weeks have become a permanent gig that has survived over three decades and resulted in the group changing its name to the Vanguard Jazz Orchestra. Several of the current key members played for Thad Jones, so the orchestra’s unique sound and swing are proudly held and displayed, while other original precepts of creativity and experimentation are nurtured and encouraged.
Here's a peak of the Vanguard Jazz Orchestra performing at the Village Vanguard.
Tickets for the concert are on sale at the Ticket Center at Clinton House at (607) 273-4497 or (800) 284-8422 or at ithacaevents.com, and at the door if available.