BBC Big Band Orchestra: Big Band Favorites [Madacy] 2004
In the 1950’s the format and purpose of the Dance Orchestra was changed and modernised, and it became a big band with strings in the Billy May style, known as the BBC Showband, under the leadership of Cyril Stapleton.
The band, featuring many British jazz stars, was heavily featured on the BBC Light Programme and also began to be used widely in television in the company of homegrown talent, including a then unknown Matt Monro, and with international stars such as Frank Sinatra and Nat ‘King’ Cole.
The BBC Big Band came into existence in 1964 when the Showband was broken up and the existing BBC Variety Orchestra and BBC Revue Orchestra were amalgamated creating the BBC Radio Orchestra.
The Radio Orchestra was a large flexible studio ensemble in the Nelson Riddle / Henry Mancini mode, with a full jazz Big Band and symphonic strings.
The BBC Big Band made up the orchestra’s brass, reed and rhythm sections, and was nominally the orchestra’s jazz wing.
The various sections of the Radio Orchestra, prefixed A-D, could be used for different kinds of recordings and the “C1” section of the Radio Orchestra was known as the BBC Radio Big Band.
The orchestra was initially directed by Malcolm Lockyer, who had previously directed the BBC Showband and BBC joined by various arrangers and guest conductors, including Barry Forgie in 1977, who remains the big band’s Musical Director to this day.
At the outset, the big band was sometimes known within the BBC as the ‘Radio Dance Orchestra’ or ‘Radio Showband’, utilising some of the names the band had been previously known under, but it was officially called the Radio Big Band from 1964.
For the most part it has been a standard-sized big band, comprising four trumpets, four trombones, five saxophones (all of whom double on various reed and wind instruments) and a rhythm section of piano (doubling keyboards), guitar, double bass (doubling bass guitar), drums and percussion (including vibes and Latin instruments).
For various projects the band has also seen regular augmentation with additional instruments including French horns, tubas, extra wind and on occasion large groups of strings, particularly the BBC Concert Orchestra, (effectively re-creating the line-up of the BBC Radio Orchestra).
The BBC Radio Big Band was also complemented by similar ensembles throughout the UK, including the BBC Northern Dance Orchestra in Manchester and the BBC Scottish Radio Orchestra in Glasgow (which was also known as the Radio Scotland Big Band).
01. Pennsylvania 6-5000
02. Take the A Train
03. King Porter Stomp
04. A String of Pearls
05. What Is This Thing Called Love
06. The Very Thought of You
07. Mood Indigo
09. Moonlight Serenade
10. Down South Camp Meeting
01. Chattanooga Choo Choo
02. Sing, Sing, Sing
03. In the Mood
04. ‘s Wonderful
05. I Got It Bad (And That Ain’t Good)
06. Sweet Georgia Brown
07. I’m Getting Sentimental over You
08. Begin the Beguine
09. (I’ve Got a Gal In) Kalamazoo
10. South Rampart Street Parade
01. One O’Clock Jump
02. Song of India
03. Little Brown Jug
04. Jersey Bounce
05. American Patrol
07. I Get a Kick Out of You
08. Boogie Woogie Maxine
09. On the Sunny Side of the Street
10. Tuxedo Junction
Released: 2004 / 2006