WDR Big Band
The WDR Big Band is a big band of the West German Broadcasting Corporation (WDR) in Cologne .
The origin of today's WDR Big Band lies in the "Kölner Rundfunk-Tanzorchester" active in August 1946 at the then NWDR Cologne (the predecessor of today's WDR), which was under the direction of Otto Gerdes and alternated with the Radio Dance Orchestra Hamburg Kurt Weg appeared in the only program of the NWDR.
In the autumn of 1947 Otto Gerdes switched to the Südwestfunk (SWF) orchestra as conductor . In his place came Adalbert Luczkowski , who had been active in the string section of the "German Dance and Entertainment Orchestra" founded during the war and possibly wanted to continue the tradition of this band in Cologne. In any case, the existing orchestra was now called the “Cologne Dance and Entertainment Orchestra” (KTUO). The soloists in this orchestra included Heinz Schachtner (trumpet), Erich Well (trombone) and the saxophonists Eddie Reisner and Paul Peuker.
At the end of the 1950s, WDR discovered a love for jazz . Since the existing KTUO was not designed for this, Kurt Edelhagen was commissioned to set up a jazz big band . In 1957 Kurt Edelhagen switched from SWF to WDR and brought three musicians from his previous band with him to Cologne. He gathered all the others from all over Europe, and the band was complete with musicians from eight nations. The composition changed constantly, however, because Edelhagen was known for a strong "wear and tear" of musicians. The new "Orchester Kurt Edelhagen" remained an independent band under the name of its leader and was not a "radio orchestra". Only Edelhagen had a work contract with the WDR, which had to be renewed annually. In this respect, it can only be seen as the forerunner of the “WDR Big Band” in a broader sense. Only after his contract was terminated by the WDR at the end of 1972 and the associated end of his own big band, Edelhagen made recordings with the “WDR dance orchestra” between 1976 and 1980.
Adalbert Luczkowski retired on January 1, 1966. His successor in 1967 was the previous head of the RIAS Tanzorchester Berlin, Werner Müller. The Cologne dance and entertainment orchestra under the direction of Adalbert Luczkowski and then Werner Müller played temporarily in parallel with the Edelhagen band at WDR. Werner Müller temporarily combined the musicians in his band with the strings of the WDR radio orchestra to form the "Great WDR Entertainment Orchestra". With him, the name "WDR Dance Orchestra" and later "WDR Big Band" came up. In September 1987 Wolfgang Hirschmann was appointed first sound engineer and producer of the WDR Big Band; from 1996 to January 2002 Hirschmann was her orchestra manager, whose repertoire he constantly expanded. Lucas Schmid followed him on this course .
Bob Mintzer has been chief conductor since 2016 . At the same time, Vince Mendoza was introduced as the band's new “composer in residence”.
Since 2004, Karolina Strassmayer (alto saxophone) has been a woman member of the orchestra for the first time. From 2014 to 2019 the orchestra also had a brass player with Shannon Barnett . The WDR Big Band has received several awards.
So far the following band leaders have led the band:
- Otto Gerdes (1946–1947)
- Adalbert Luczkowski (1947–1967) / Johannes Fehring (1963–1965)
- Werner Müller (1967–1985)
- Jerry van Rooyen (1985-1995)
- Bill Dobbins (1995-2002)
- Michael Abene (2003-2014)
- Richard DeRosa (2014-2016)
- Bob Mintzer (since summer 2016)
The current line-up (2019) consists of:
- Saxophone: Karolina Strassmayer (as), Olivier Peters (ts), Johan Hörlén (as), Paul Heller (ts), Jens Neufang (bs)
- Trumpet: Andy Haderer , Rob Bruynen , Wim Both , Ruud Breuls
- Trombone: Ludwig Nuss , Mattis Cederberg , Raphael Klemm , Andy Hunter
- Rhythm section: Billy Test (Keys), Hans Dekker (Drums), John Goldsby (Bass), Paul Shigihara (Guitar)
In 2007 the WDR Big Band received a Grammy : The album “ Some Skunk Funk ”, recorded at the Leverkusener Jazztage 2003 together with Will Lee , Randy and Michael Brecker , was named the best album of a large jazz ensemble. Michael Brecker also received a posthumous Grammy for the best jazz instrumental solo for the piece "Some Skunk Funk".
The WDR Big Band was also successful at the 50th Grammy Awards in 2008: The joint production between the WDR Big Band and singer Patti Austin , "Avant Gershwin", was named the best "Jazz Vocal Album" of the year. The WDR Big Band won the second Grammy together with Vince Mendoza in the category “Best Instrumental Arrangement” for the arrangement “In a Silent Way”, composed by Joe Zawinul, who died in 2007 . The recording was made in Vienna in October 2005, the piece is part of the live recordings that were released on the double album Brown Street in 2006.
- Dave Stryker with Bob Mintzer and the WDR Big Band: Blue Soul
- Luciana Souza & WDR Big Band Cologne: Storytellers
- Live at the Philharmonie, Cologne , Bill Laurance and the WDR Big Band
- Always Forward , Marshall Gilkes and the WDR Big Band
- Homecoming , Vince Mendoza and the WDR Big Band
- Cologne , Marshall Gilkes and the WDR Big Band Cologne
- My Personal Songbook , Ron Carter and the WDR Big Band Cologne
- Big Band Boom , Metro and the WDR Big Band Cologne
- Reineke Fuchs , radio play with Theo Bleckmann , Ulrich Noethen and the WDR Big Band (Live in Cologne)
- Soul Classics , Maceo Parker and the WDR Big Band
- With large cutlery , Pe Werner and the WDR Big Band
- Vans Joint , Bill Evans , Dave Weckl , Mark Egan and the WDR Big Band Cologne (Live)
- Plays the Music of Jimi Hendrix , Hiram Bullock , Billy Cobham , and the WDR Big Band Cologne (Live)
- Avant Gershwin , Patti Austin and the WDR Big Band Cologne
- Roots & Grooves , Maceo Parker and the WDR Big Band Cologne
- Brown Street , Joe Zawinul and the WDR Big Band Cologne (Live in Vienna)
- Winterwunderwelt , Götz Alsmann and the WDR Big Band Cologne
- NiedeckenKoeln , Wolfgang Niedecken and the WDR Big Band Cologne
- Voices of Concord Jazz , live in Montreux
- tango y postango , Nestor Marconi , Ernst Reijseger , Mark Walker and the WDR Big Band Cologne
- Paquito D'Rivera , Latin Rhythms with Paquito D'Rivera
- For Ella , Patti Austin / Patrick Williams
- Dedalo , Gianluigi Trovesi
- Colors of Siam , Thorsten Wollmann
- WDR big band Jan Klare / Eckard Koltermann
- Mannix soundtracks , Lalo Schifrin
- Jazz Goes to Hollywood , Lalo Schifrin
- Kurt Weill - American Songs , Caterina Valente
- Get Hit in Your Soul , Miles Griffith / Jack Walrath
- Latin Jazz Suite , Lalo Schifrin
- Prism , Bill Dobbins / Peter Erskine
- Gillespiana , Lalo Schifrin
- Jazz Mass In Concert , Lalo Schifrin
- The Escape , Jens Winther
- Your Song , Jerry van Rooyen
- Behind Closed Doors , Peter Erskine
- The Last Concert , Eddie Harris
- Jubilee , Markus & Simon Stockhausen
- Soul to Jazz , Bernard Purdie
- Swing & Ballads , Jerry van Rooyen
- Electricity , Bob Brookmeyer
- Sketches , Vince Mendoza
- Cosmopolitan Greetings , George Gruntz
- Jazzpana , Vince Mendoza / Arif
- Carambolage , Joachim Kühn
- Traces of Trane , Peter Herborn
- Tribute to Thad Jones , Mel Lewis
- Dream of Life , Carmen McRae
- East Coast Blowout , Jim McNeely
- The Third Stone , Jiggs Whigham
- Harlem Story , Peter Herbolzheimer
- ↑ See the audio CD: Kurt Edelhagen & the WDR Tanzorchester. Recordings 1976-1980 . WDR 4, 2 CDs. (2007)
- ↑ WDR (Westdeutscher Rundfunk) cultural news from December 11, 2015: Jazz musician Bob Mintzer becomes chief conductor of the WDR Bigband , accessed on December 13, 2015
- ↑ Together and solo. December 15, 2018, accessed December 14, 2018 .