The coolest band in Denmark
The DR Big Band was founded in 1964, at a time when the Copenhagen jazz scene was buzzing with life and the city was constantly being visited by big names from the USA. In the early years the band, was originally called The New Radio Dance Orchestra, was led by Ib Glindemann. But over the next few decades many new faces joined – a succession of striking bandleaders, musicians and guest soloists B all of whom helped to develop the band into the experienced ensemble whose record releases and concerts have a devoted following all over the world. Leaders like Thad Jones, Bob Brookmeyer and Jim McNeely, and guest soloists like Miles Davis, Stan Getz and Joe Henderson – along with a galaxy of Danish jazz musicians – were able to make the DR Big Band the institution that Ernie Wilkins said was “probably the best band in Europe.”
In 1964 the Danish broadcasting corporation Danmarks Radio (DR) had a monopoly of both radio and TV broadcasting in Denmark. When DR’s head of entertainment Niels-Jørgen Kaiser decided that DR had to have its own jazz band, it was thus because – without regard for economics, but with a sense of artistic quality – he wanted radio as a nationwide medium to reflect the fact that jazz was very much alive in the Copenhagen clubs. During the first few decades the New Radio Dance Orchestra – which later became the DR Big Band was therefore able to develop on the artistic premises of jazz itself. And that worked well. The big band won a reputation that could attract the big names – whether they were bandleaders or guest soloists. And the big band was able to lay the foundations for the sparkling succession of recordings that today consists of more than 60 albums.
Since then the DR Big Band had recorded a number of albums with among other stars Randy Brecker, Chris Potter and Mike Stern. But is it has also appeared in the talent show X Factor, in the family series Sigurd & the Big Band, in the show Circus Summarum, etc,
The factors that make the big band a great experience for audiences are its high technical standard, its living artistic expression and its mixture of tight choreography and relaxed humour. Today the DR Big Band emerges as trim, highly capable and deeply committed. It has been able to develop the big jazz sound while at the same time embracing a wider field.