Two of Santa Fe’s finest jazz musicians- drummer John Trentacosta and pianist Bert Dalton- have been hard at work guiding students at the New Mexico School for the Arts. Tonight’s opening set features many of Santa Fe’s best and brightest young jazz musicians.
The Santa Fe Great Big Jazz Band was founded some twenty years ago not only to keep alive the tradition of jazz composed for large ensembles, but also to provide a venue for the musicians in Northern New Mexico who love to perform it. The band is an 18-member big band playing a library of more than 100 numbers that includes many of the standards from bands of the past–Count Basie, Woody Herman, Glenn Miller, Stan Kenton, Buddy Rich, and others–as well as newer charts by contemporary composers and arrangers including Quincy Jones, Tom Kubis, and Gordon Goodwin. Their library also includes a number of charts composed and arranged specifically for the Santa Fe Great Big Jazz Band by local ASCAP composer Bob Jones. The instrumentation of the band includes five saxophones, four or five trumpets, four trombones, piano, bass, percussion, and a female vocalist. Its personnel includes many of the finest musicians and jazz performers in the Santa Fe region. Several hold undergraduate and graduate degrees in music and have had extensive and successful music careers performing and teaching. For other members, their professions may be in other fields, but music and jazz are a vital part of their lives.