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Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra

The Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra (JLCO), comprising 15 of the finest jazz soloists and ensemble players today—and joined on its 2022 Big Band Holidays tour by vocalists Dianne Reeves and Samara Joy—has been the Jazz at Lincoln Center resident orchestra since 1988 and spends over a third of the year on tour across the world. This remarkably versatile orchestra performs and leads educational events in New York, across the U.S. and around the globe in all type of venues and with symphony orchestras—including the Minnesota Orchestra in September 2022 performances of Wynton Marsalis’ Swing Symphony—ballet troupes, local students and an ever-expanding roster of guest artists.

Typically under Music Director Wynton Marsalis—although he is not performing at the December 2022 Big Band Holidays concert at Orchestra Hall, for which the Music Director is Victor Goines—the JLCO performs a vast repertoire, from rare historic compositions to Jazz at Lincoln Center-commissioned works. Throughout the last decade, the JLCO has performed with many of the world’s leading symphony orchestras. Marsalis’ three major works for symphony orchestra and jazz orchestra, All Rise–Symphony No. 1 (1999), Swing Symphony–Symphony No. 3 (2010), and The Jungle–Symphony No. 4 (2016), continue to be the focal point of JLCO’s symphonic collaborations. The JLCO has also been featured in several education and performance residencies in the last few years.

Education is a major part of Jazz at Lincoln Center’s mission; its educational activities are coordinated with concert and JLCO tour programming. These programs, many of which feature JLCO members, include the celebrated Jazz for Young People™ family concert series; the Essentially Ellington High School Jazz Band Competition & Festival; the Jazz for Young People™ Curriculum; Let Freedom Swing, educational residencies; workshops; and concerts for students and adults worldwide. Jazz at Lincoln Center, NPR Music and WBGO have partnered to create the next generation of jazz programming in public radio: Jazz Night in America. The series showcases today’s vital jazz scene while also underscoring the genre’s storied history. Hosted by bassist Christian McBride, the program features handpicked performances from across the country, woven with the colorful stories of the artists behind them.

In 2015, Jazz at Lincoln Center launched Blue Engine Records, a new platform to make its vast archive of recorded concerts available to jazz audiences everywhere. The label is dedicated to releasing new studio and live recordings as well as archival recordings from past Jazz at Lincoln Center performances. Blue Engine’s most recent album releases include 2020’s A Swingin’ Sesame Street Celebration and 2021’s The Democracy Suite featuring the JLCO Septet with Wynton Marsalis.