Crystal Silence

On October 28, 2023, Desert City Jazz presented “Prime Cuts: A Choice Selection of Sizzlin’ Tunes.” It was an eclectic, varied program of some of our favorite big band arrangements from the swing era to the present.

Here’s a beautiful Chick Corea composition, “Crystal Silence,” featuring Ray Botte on tenor sax and Brandon Hang on piano. Enjoy!


Moment’s Notice

On October 28, 2023, Desert City Jazz presented “Prime Cuts: A Choice Selection of Sizzlin’ Tunes.” It was an eclectic, varied program of some of our favorite big band arrangements from the swing era to the present.

We opened with John Coltrane’s classic “Moment’s Notice,” featuring Nolan Morse on tenor sax. Enjoy!


Comfort and Joy

Desert City Jazz wishes you tidings of “Comfort and Joy” this holiday season the best way we know how – with a swingin’ big band tune.

This arrangement by Rick Hirsch is based on “God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen.” The soloists are Ray Botte on tenor sax, Anna Zischkau on alto sax, and Brandon Hang on piano. Enjoy!


Jingle Bells

It’s hard to believe that the legendary Count Basie Orchestra, formed in 1935, had never released a holiday album until 2015. A Very Swingin’ Basie Christmas lived up to its promise and was well worth the wait! Our previous video, “I’ll Be Home for Christmas,” came from that album and so does this one. “Jingle Bells” was arranged by then-90-year-old Sammy Nestico, one of the greatest of Basie’s arrangers.

Our version features Andy Rich on trumpet. Enjoy!


I’ll Be Home for Christmas

Each year since 2021, Desert City Jazz and our sister band, Desert Overture Wind Symphony, have presented a joint holiday concert at Tempe Center for the Arts.

We were thrilled to get this arrangement of “I’ll Be Home for Christmas” directly from the arranger, Scotty Barnhart, the current leader of the Count Basie Orchestra. It opens with a beautiful piano intro by Brandon Hang and also features the tenor talents of Ray Botte. Enjoy!


Santa Claus is Coming to Town

Each year since 2021, Desert City Jazz and our sister band, Desert Overture Wind Symphony, have presented a joint holiday concert at Tempe Center for the Arts.

“Santa Claus is Coming to Town” is performed here as a cool swing arrangement featuring Brandon Hang on piano. Enjoy!


You Brought a New Kind of Love to Me

“You Brought a New Kind of Love to Me” was sung by Maurice Chevalier in the 1930 movie The Big Pond. Paul Whiteman and his Orchestra also recorded it. This arrangement is by Fletcher Henderson, one of the most highly regarded arrangers of the early big band era. We feature Mike Wojciechowicz on clarinet and Brandon Hang on piano. Enjoy!


Nice ‘n’ Easy

At our July 2023 concert “The Kings of Swing,” we presented classic big band charts from the greatest band leaders of the swing era.

Here’s a nice ‘n’ easy swinger called… “Nice ‘n’ Easy!” It was the title cut from Frank Sinatra’s 1960 album. It has been covered by artists such as Peggy Lee, Nancy Sinatra, Michael Buble, Natalie Cole, and Barbra Streisand.

Our instrumental version features a lovely trumpet solo by Andy Rich. Enjoy!


Ain’t Misbehavin’

At our July 2023 concert “The Kings of Swing,” we presented classic big band charts from the greatest band leaders of the swing era.

Here’s our performance of one of the oldest and most well-known jazz classics, “Ain’t Misbehavin’.” It was first performed in 1929 as part of the musical, Connie’s Hot Chocolates. Louis Armstrong was playing in the orchestra for this musical, and even though it’s been covered by dozens of other artists and included in eight movies, it will be forever associated with Louis Armstrong.

Our version features solos by Andy Rich on trumpet, Kerry Vesper on baritone sax, and Jeff Pellaton on drums. Enjoy!


Woodchopper’s Ball

At our July 2023 concert “The Kings of Swing,” we presented classic big band charts from the greatest band leaders of the swing era.

Here’s our performance of Woody Herman’s memorable, hard-swinging signature tune “Woodchopper’s Ball.”  Released in 1939, this song sold over a million copies. In 2002, it received the Grammy Hall of Fame Award.

Our version features solos by Ray Botte on tenor sax, Mike Wojciechowicz on alto sax, and Dave Hughes on trombone. Enjoy!


Time for a Change

At our July 2023 concert “The Kings of Swing,” we presented classic big band charts from the greatest band leaders of the swing era.

Here’s our performance of Stan Kenton’s “Time for a Change,” composed by Hank Levy. This chart was our most challenging piece from this concert since it was written in 9/4 time (subdivided 2-2-3-2). See if you can count along!

Tenor saxophonist Ray Botte ably navigates this difficult terrain during his solo. Enjoy!


Take the A Train

At our July 2023 concert “The Kings of Swing,” we presented classic big band charts from the greatest band leaders of the swing era.

Here’s our performance of Duke Ellington’s signature hit “Take the A Train,” composed by Billy Strayhorn. This updated arrangement is by one of our favorite composers/arrangers, Gordon Goodwin.

The soloists are Nolan Morse on tenor sax and Brandon Hang on piano. Enjoy!


After the Love Has Gone

At our March 2023 concert “Drop the Needle,” we presented big band versions of memorable funk, R&B, rock, and pop hits mostly from the 1970s and 1980s. It was a sell-out and one of our most favorably received concerts ever!

Here’s our performance of Earth, Wind & Fire’s beautiful ballad, “After the Love Has Gone,” from their 1979 hit album I Am. It won the Grammy Award for Best R&B Vocal Performance by a Duo or Group and was nominated for Record of the Year and Song of the Year.

Enjoy!


Josie

From our March, 2023 concert “Drop the Needle,” here’s Josie, from the classic Steely Dan album Aja. This album was Steely Dan’s masterpiece and has been called one of the most perfect albums ever recorded, both from a musical and engineering standpoint.

Al Duarte is featured on guitar. Enjoy!


Just the Two of Us

From our “Drop the Needle” concert, here’s our performance of the Grover Washington, Jr. & Bill Withers hit, “Just the Two of Us,” from Grover’s 1981 double-platinum album Winelight. Both the album and the song won Grammy Awards.

The album version of “Just the Two of Us” includes a steelpan solo. Our version features Dave Hughes on steelpan and Ray Botte on tenor sax. Enjoy!


Isn’t She Lovely

Here’s our performance of Stevie Wonder’s hit “Isn’t She Lovely” from his 1976 masterpiece album Songs in the Key of Life. The album debuted at #1 on the Billboard Pop Albums chart and stayed there for 13 weeks. It won a Grammy Award for Album of the Year and has sold over 5 million copies.

Our version features Andy Rich on trumpet and Al Duarte on guitar. Enjoy!


Livin’ La Vida Loca

Here’s “Livin’ La Vida Loca” from Ricky Martin’s English language debut album. It reached number one in more than 20 countries and is considered to be Martin’s biggest hit and one of the best-selling singles of all time.

Our version features Al Duarte on guitar. Enjoy!


Sir Duke

Here’s our performance of Stevie Wonder’s hit “Sir Duke” from his 1976 masterpiece album Songs in the Key of Life. The album debuted at #1 on the Billboard Pop Albums chart and stayed there for 13 weeks. It won a Grammy Award for Album of the Year and has sold over 5 million copies.

The tenor sax soloist is Ray Botte. Enjoy!


Everyday I Have the Blues

For our “All About the Blues” concert at the Nash jazz club on July 31, 2022, we were honored to have the great vocalist Dennis Rowland as our special guest.

Here’s Dennis Rowland singing “Everyday I Have the Blues.” Enjoy!


Aaron’s Blues

Here’s “Aaron’s Blues” from our “All About the Blues” concert at the Nash jazz club on July 31, 2022.

The soloists are Brandon Hang, piano; Mike Wojciechowicz, alto sax; Scott Thomas, trombone; Ray Botte, tenor sax. Enjoy!


Afro Blue

Here’s our rendition of Mongo Santamaria’s exciting Latin tune “Afro Blue,” from our “All About the Blues” concert at the Nash jazz club on July 31, 2022.

This selection features Ray Botte on tenor sax and Jeff Pellaton on drums. Enjoy!


St. Louis Blues

Here’s a classic blues tune from our “All About the Blues” concert at the Nash jazz club on July 31, 2022.

This selection features Ray Botte on tenor sax and Andy Rich on trumpet. Enjoy!


Won’t You Be My Neighbor?

Here’s the lovable theme song from Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood, composed by Fred Rogers himself! This was performed at our “Big Screen / Little Screen” show at the Nash jazz club on April 23, 2022.

The trombone soloist is Rain Woodward and the tenor sax soloist is Ray Botte. Enjoy!


You’ve Got a Friend in Me

Here’s Randy Newman’s composition, “You’ve Got a Friend in Me,” from Toy Story. This was part of our “Big Screen / Little Screen” show at the Nash jazz club on April 23, 2022.

The alto sax soloist is Mike Wojciechowicz. Enjoy!


Meet the Flintstones

Here’s our take on one of the greatest TV theme songs ever. This was part of our “Big Screen / Little Screen” show at the Nash jazz club on April 23, 2022.

The tenor sax soloist is Ray Botte.


Chicharrón

Here’s an original composition by our director, LaShaun Tweedie, performed live during “An Afternoon of Latin Jazz” at the Nash jazz club on October 30, 2021.

Featured soloists: Paul Brewer, tenor sax; Juan Rodriguez, trumpet; Jeff Pellaton, drums; Travis Rowland, Jr., percussion.


Yram

Here’s an original composition by our director, LaShaun Tweedie, performed live during “An Afternoon of Latin Jazz” at the Nash jazz club on October 30, 2021.

Andy Rich is featured on flugelhorn and trumpet.


Isfahan

Here is our take on the beautiful Duke Ellington/Billy Strayhorn ballad “Isfahan.”

In this performance, we feature our guest artist Eric Rasmussen on alto sax. Enjoy!


When You’re Smiling

Here’s a happy, swinging tune from our performance at the Nash jazz club in Phoenix in August, 2019. Enjoy!


The Girl from Ipanema

This song was going to be part of our “Evening of Latin Jazz” concert in March, 2020, but sadly the pandemic struck and we had to postpone that. So, we did the next best thing.

Let Desert City Jazz transport you to Rio’s sunny world-famous beaches with this swinging arrangement of Antonio Carlos Jobim’s classic “The Girl from Ipanema.”


Spring Can Really Hang You Up the Most

Here’s another video from our performance last year at the Nash, to tide you over until we can meet again. This beautiful ballad features our guest artist Eric Rasmussen on alto sax. Enjoy!


Sweet Georgia Brown

Since we can’t perform live, we would like share a video from our performance last year at the Nash. Enjoy!


Desert Jazz Opener

During the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic, Desert City Jazz remotely recorded this video of our new theme song, “Desert Jazz Opener,” composed by our director LaShaun Tweedie. Enjoy!


Tune for My Dad

On December 17, 2018, Desert City Jazz performed at the Nash jazz club in Phoenix, Arizona. Our special guest was composer/arranger Mike Shellans, who also served as guest conductor for his pieces.  This tune was written in memory of Mike’s father, Herb Shellans. Enjoy!


F.I.T.H. People

Another fantastic Mike Shellans composition. It’s just another 12-bar blues … in 5/4 time. See how many quotes from famous 5/4 tunes you can identify!