Our first CD, simply called Toronto Jazz Orchestra, was recorded part live at The Montreal Bistro, and part in studio at Metalworks in Mississauga. We chose some of the best tunes ever written for big band.
Formed in 1998, the Toronto Jazz Orchestra is an 18-piece big band made up of recent graduates from Toronto’s top university and college jazz programs – some of Toronto’s best young jazz musicians. Performing exciting and interesting big band music – from the leading edge of contemporary composition to the classic tunes of the past – the Toronto Jazz Orchestra seeks to educate, entertain, and increase the public’s understanding and appreciation of jazz.
Over the past nine years the Toronto Jazz Orchestra has performed regularly at Toronto’s Rex Hotel and, prior to its closing, The Montreal Bistro. Since winning the top prize at the Markham Jazz Festival’s Jazz Stars of the Future competition in 2000, the ensemble has appeared in the JVC, Beaches, Lakefield, and Markham Jazz Festivals.
As part of their regular performance schedule, the Toronto Jazz Orchestra has undertaken several major projects. In 2001 they released their self-titled inaugural compact disc to strong reviews and were awarded a Toronto Arts Council Project Grant for their performance of the Cuban Fire Suite, as recorded by the Stan Kenton Orchestra; in 2002 they presented an evening with Phil Nimmons, featuring a performance of The Atlantic Suite. In 2003 they were awarded a Canada Council Commissioning of Canadian Compositions grant, which helped in their commissioning of a new piece by Hugh Fraser, and released their second compact disc, Under A Tree, which exclusively features original Canadian compositions. In 2004 they presented their first annual Young Composer’s Competition, designed to encourage the creation of new works for big band by young Canadian composers, and presented the music of Stan Kenton.
In 2005 the Toronto Jazz Orchestra performed in Collingwood and Sarnia and presented a sold-out performance with Grammy-nominated vocalist Kurt Elling; the fall of 2005 featured a visit from Jim McNeely and a tribute to the Thad Jones/Mel Lewis Orchestra. In 2006 the Toronto Jazz Orchestra performed with New York saxophonist Seamus Blake and was nominated for a 2006 National Jazz Award in the Best Big Band category. In 2007, the Toronto Jazz Orchestra presented the Music of Duke Ellington, including a full performance of the Such Sweet Thunder suite, and a special performance of music from West Side Story, supported by a Toronto Arts Council grant, featuring 12 new arrangements by 5 local composers.
Founder, Artistic Director and Conductor Josh Grossman is a graduate of the University of Toronto’s Jazz Performance Program where he studied trumpet with Chase Sanborn and Kevin Turcotte. He has performed in big bands under the direction of Phil Nimmons, Paul Read, Ron Collier and Paul Ashwell, and has played with The Whitney Smith Big Steam Band, Freeflight, the Array Jazz Orchestra, and in 2000 performed with the Hamilton All-Star Jazz Band at the Montreux Jazz Festival in Switzerland. For four years Josh conducted the Hart House Jazz Ensemble, an extra-curricular big band at the University of Toronto, and for eight years has been on faculty at the Toronto District School Board’s annual music camp. When not conducting the Toronto Jazz Orchestra, Josh works as Manager for the High Park Choirs and Festival Coordinator for Continuum Contemporary Music; he has also been the Artistic Director for the Markham Jazz Festival since 2006.
For more information on the Toronto Jazz Orchestra please visit www.thetjo.com, email email@example.com, or call (416) 899-5299.