NDR Bigband – The Hamburg Radio Jazz Orchestra is the premiere orchestra of German public radio in Hamburg. The prized group is considered to be one of the best European jazz big bands and has won great International acclaim because of its original and forward-looking music, including well-documented recordings and performance collaborations with a virtual “Who-Who” of jazz and other music legends.
Among those who have performed with the Hamburg Radio Jazz Orchestra are Dexter Gordon, Chet Barker, George Coleman, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Tomasz Stanko, Art Farmer, Don Cherry, McCoy Turner, Lionel Hampton, Benny Golson, Johnny Griffin, Carla Bley, and Wayne Shorter. The very first jazz concert of the Orchestra took place in May 1974 in the Hamburg “Fabrik”. Since that very moment, they have becomesteadily and increasinglywell-known, appearing on stages in Copenhagen, Nuremberg, Chicago, New York, Paris, London, and even as far away as Beijing.
Hamburg’s NDR Bigband has also taken part in many exceptional artistic projects which often come out of the jazz music frames such as The Theatre of Kurt Weil, Aus der Kürze des Lebens with the poems by Ernst Jandel – for this purpose written by Dieter Glawischnig, or the music of both Jimi Hendrix and Frank Zappa.
For many years, the Ensemble has successfully reached for the compositions of Polish jazzmen. One of such projects was the recording session for a radio broadcast of NDR together with Tomasz Stanko, entitled The Music of Krzysztof Komeda. Another example of such projects is the CD being recorded with Jan Wroblewski (nickname “Ptaszyn”) under the titleJazz from Poland.
Al Jarreau gave his opinion about the Hamburg Radio Jazz Orchestrawith these words: “There aren’t too many big bands on this planet, but Hamburg has one of the best. I love it!”