As well as gracing Radio 2's Monday night listeners with its presence, the BBC Big Band reaches worldwide audiences through the BBC World Service, satellite radio and via the Internet. It has been voted the best Big Band in the British Jazz Awards in 1992, 1994, 1997, 1999 and 2001.
The BBC Big Band has played with Van Morrison, Georgie Fame, Michael Ball, Martin Taylor, Pat Kane, Claire Martin, Ian Shaw and Madeline Bell. It has also entertained thousands with international stars such as Tony Bennett, George Shearing, Michel Legrand, Louie Bellson, James Morrison, Lalo Schifrin, Ray Charles, Patti Austin and Dr. John. Concert tours with these artists have taken the band all over the world as well as in regular concert recordings throughout the UK for Radio 2.
The Band regularly features on the festival circuit - from Harrogate and Cheltenham to Glasgow, Edinburgh and Cork as well as appearing at the 2001 BBC Jazz Awards. At the Proms the band has played with guests Cleo Laine, John Dankworth, Clark Terry, Wayne Marshall and with the BBC Symphony Orchestra. The year 2000 saw the Band in Belfast with George Benson for BBC Music Live and it features annually at the South Bank's Rhythm Sticks Festival.
Individually, the BBC Big Band boasts a huge range of talent and experience. It's members can play almost anything at sight, from Tommy Dorsey arrangements to Stan Kenton, whilst remaining no strangers to a good drink and a good laugh.
St James Concert Hall Box office: 01481 711361
The BBC Radio programme "Big Band Special" is presented by American singer Stacey Kent.