Cambridge Gets a Fresh Big Band: The Homerton Jazz Orchestra
The Homerton Jazz Orchestra (HoJO) finished the 2015-2016 academic year with a high-energy string of Cambridge Mayball performances (including Darwin College + Gonville & Caius). We broke ground on a new annual tradition, the HoJO vs. Selwyn Jazz Big Band Shootout (which is a very dramatic title for two big bands playing a family-friendly concert in Homerton’s garden). Making this even more remarkable was that we started from scratch with nothing but a £100 grant from our college and a truck-load of enthusiasm.
When I was a student at the Berklee College of Music, I studied arranging. In fact, I was lucky enough to get to study with last faculty members of Berklee’s famed Arranging Department before they all retired. I learned from the cats that learned their crafts playing in and writing for orchestras ranging from Stan Kenton to Sun Ra. Being the Musical Director of The Homerton Jazz Orchestra has given me the opportunity to share what I learned from the masters; their musical crafts and their road-stories.
Having a small start-up budget and no sheet music, it was apparent that I had to start writing some big band charts immediately …and thats what I did.
After 6-months of writing and rehearsing, HoJO had an fresh and exciting set of original music and unique arrangements.
Dia de los Muertos:
Boasting four amazing singers and a wide range of fresh material,
HoJO is always exciting and fun.
Pure musical joyriding!
HoJO at Darwin College’s 2016 May Ball
After the first year, I resumed directing the orchestra and added new artwork, professional music stands and more music. You can continue the story and read about HoJO Year 2 .
Follow HoJO at: https://www.facebook.com/homertonjazzorchestra.