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American Jazz Orchestra

In 1985, when jazz critic Gary Giddins was told by producer Roberta Swann that she was thinking about putting together today’s traditional ensemble, he suggested that she help develop a jazz repertory orchestra instead. With John Lewis because the musical movie director, the American Jazz Orchestra got their debut concert in 1986, playing functions connected with Duke Ellington, Jimmie Lunceford, Fletcher Henderson, Depend Basie, and Dizzy Gillespie. Two recordings resulted (tributes to Ellington and Lunceford), which frequently discovered the all-star players re-creating documented solos. However when financing eventually went out in the first ’90s, the American Jazz Orchestra slipped aside into history.

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