Jazz Ambassadors of The US Army Field Band w/ Chicago Jazz Orchestra

Tuesday, November 07, 2017 at 7pm
Center Theatre

Free General Admission, reservation required

  • There is a four ticket purchase limit.
  • Please call us at (847) 673-6300 if you need to reserve more than four tickets or require handicap accessible seating.
  • All Ticket-holders Must Be Seated 30 Minutes Prior to Start Time.
  • Any Unclaimed or Latecomer Seats Will Be Released to Non ticket-holders 15 Minutes Prior to Start Time

The Jazz Ambassadors is the official touring big band of the United States Army. From the big band sounds of the 1940s to the contemporary hits of today, this 19-member ensemble presents a versatile musical program that has earned them international recognition and appeals to all ages. They will perform with The Chicago Jazz Orchestra which celebrates and perpetuates jazz orchestra music – an original American art form – for all audiences through unique performance, collaboration, and education.


This event sponsored by:

Jazz Ambassadors of The United States Army Field Band
The Jazz Ambassadors is the official touring big band of the United States Army. Formed in 1969, this 19-member ensemble has received great acclaim at home and abroad performing America’s greatest original art form, jazz. Concerts by the Jazz Ambassadors are programmed to entertain all types of audiences. The band’s diverse repertoire includes big band swing, bebop, Latin, contemporary jazz, standards, popular tunes, Dixieland, vocals, and patriotic selections, many of which are written or arranged by members of the Jazz Ambassadors. The Jazz Ambassadors has appeared in all 50 states, Canada, Mexico, Japan, India, and throughout Europe. Recent notable performances include concerts at the Toronto Jazz Festival, the Richmond Jazz Festival at Maymont, the Kennedy Center Honors, the Jazz Education Network Conference, and an appearance on the Colbert Report. Gordon Goodwin, Bobby Shew, Ernie Watts, and the Dave Brubeck All-Star Quintet are just a few of the outstanding jazz artists who have shared the stage with the Jazz Ambassadors. The band has been featured in joint concerts with Marvin Hamlisch and the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, the San Diego Symphony Orchestra, the Seattle Symphony Pops, the Colorado Pops Orchestra, and the New York Pops at Carnegie Hall. The band’s rigorous touring schedule and reputation for excellence has earned it the title “America’s Big Band.”

The Jazz Ambassadors is the official touring big band of the United States Army. From the big band sounds of the 1940s to the contemporary hits of today, the members of the Jazz Ambassadors present a versatile musical program that has earned them international recognition and appeals to all ages. In addition to formal public concerts, the Jazz Ambassadors frequently presents clinics for high schools and colleges, and performs on local and network television.

Chicago Jazz Orchestra
The Chicago Jazz Orchestra (CJO) celebrates and perpetuates jazz orchestra music – an original American art form – for all audiences through unique performance, collaboration, and education. The CJO strives to develop and promote an appreciation for and understanding of music for the American jazz orchestra as it was originally conceived, performed, and recorded by jazz master composers and soloists. Through collaborative efforts and partnerships, the CJO seeks to provide listening and educational opportunities in a variety of settings and formats.

The CJO is Chicago’s oldest professional jazz orchestra in continuous operation and one of the oldest jazz repertory orchestras in the country. When Jeff Lindberg and the late Steve Jensen first came up with their big band concept in 1978 (founded as the Jazz Members Big Band), they could not have predicted the remarkable metamorphosis that turned a group of first-call musicians into what is now known as the Chicago Jazz Orchestra, a 17-piece premiere jazz ensemble that has garnered both national and international recognition.

Conductor and Artistic Director Jeff Lindberg is one of the foremost transcribers in jazz. As a result, the Orchestra’s repertoire draws upon his vast library, which includes the works of Duke Ellington, Count Basie, Dizzy Gillespie, Lionel Hampton, Benny Carter, Oliver Nelson, Ray Charles, and many others. The CJO also performs compositions and arrangements by members of the CJO, including Associate Artistic Director Charles Harrison.

For more than 35 years, the CJO has been at the forefront of presenting performances of classic American jazz orchestra repertoire to diverse audiences through reasonably priced programs held at a variety of venues. Always looking for new challenges – both in repertoire and stylistic choices – Jeff Lindberg has infused the Orchestra with a spirit of versatility that has made the group a favorite performer not only in jazz venues, but also for concert settings, receptions, and dances – just about anywhere that exceptional big band music can be presented. Audiences have the opportunity to hear unique musical arrangements transcribed by the CJO, and because the Orchestra has its own transcriptions of the original recordings, much of the music presented in these concerts cannot be heard anywhere else.

The Orchestra appears at a variety of venues and institutions across the Chicago metropolitan area, including the Spertus Institute (Venue SIX10), University of Chicago, Symphony Center, Jay Pritzker Pavilion, Midway Plaisance, Andy’s Jazz Club, Francis W. Parker School, Evanston’s Pick-Staiger Concert Hall, and Naperville’s Wentz Concert Hall and North Central College. Merit School of Music is the Orchestra’s leading organizational partner for educational programming, including day-long clinics that culminate with students performing alongside members of the CJO, master classes led by renowned guest artists of the Orchestra, and open rehearsals. The CJO also provides complimentary concert tickets to underserved public school students and their families.

The CJO has served as the resident orchestra for the Kennedy Center Honors Supper Dance for more than 25 years. In 2006, the Orchestra performed before a sold-out audience at the Spoleto Festival USA in Charleston, South Carolina. The CJO has toured Europe twice, including performances in Italy, Spain, Denmark, and Sweden. The Orchestra has performed with such artists as Dizzy Gillespie, Nancy Wilson, Louis Bellson, Herbie Hancock, Jon Faddis, Kurt Elling, Jack McDuff, Kenny Burrell, and many more.

The CJO’s recording – Clark Terry and Jeff Lindberg’s Chicago Jazz Orchestra: George Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess (Americana Music, 2004) – received widespread critical acclaim, including a nomination as “Jazz Album of The Year” by the Jazz Journalist’s Association, and a rare “Five Star” rating by DownBeat magazine, which also named it one of the top recordings of the previous decade. In addition, it also made the annual “top CD’s” lists of Jazz at Lincoln Center, Jazz Times, and Jazz Education Journal. To celebrate its 35th anniversary in 2013, the CJO released Burstin’ Out, which features emerging vocalist Cyrille Aimée and the Orchestra on a diverse album of both classic and original jazz arrangements.

Howard Reich of the Chicago Tribune has described the CJO as “sublimely controlled.” In 2006, he reported a “trouncing” of the Count Basie Orchestra by the CJO in a “Battle of the Bands” as part of the “Made in Chicago” series presented in Millennium Park. In 2015, Mr. Reich cited the CJO as “one of the best big bands in the country.” Kevin Whitehead of the Chicago Sun-Times believes that a CJO performance is “what repertory jazz should be: not a tepid re-creation of work, but a chance to hear how skillfully blended instrumental voices can set a room humming.”