("Best Contemporary Big Band in the World today" - RADIO FRANCE, Paris)
George Gruntz, Flavio Ambrosetti, Franco Ambrosetti and Daniel Humair
The George Gruntz Concert Jazz Band (GG-CJB), one of the most widely respected European-based jazz big bands, was formed in 1972 as a weekend among friends. Already the first band included many of the finest jazz musicians, among them founding members Flavio & Franco Ambrosetti and Daniel Humair, as well as Phil Woods, Dexter Gordon, Woody Shaw, Eddie Daniels, Herb Geller, Benny Bailey, Sahib Shihab, and Niels Henning Ørsted Peterson. Since its inception, the GG-CJB has provided a veritable who's who of jazz: Lee Konitz, Joe Henderson, John Scofield, Jon Faddis, Lew Soloff, and many others have numbered among its members. This year's band is no exception with an interesting selection of stalwarts from the New York scene.
George Gruntz (p), Daniel Humair (dr), Niels Henning Orsted Petersen (tb), Runo Ericksson (tb), Ake Persson (tb), Jiggs Whigham (tb), Erich Kleinschuster (tb), Virgil Jones (tp), Benny Bailey (tp), Dusko Gojkovitch (tp), Woody Shaw (tp), Franco Ambrosetti (tp), Flavio Ambrosetti (as/ss), Dexter Gordon (ts), Herb Geller (as/ss), Sahib Shihab (bs), Phil Woods (as) and Eddy Daniels (ts).
The basic idea of the first band is still in effect today: Musical friends of friends - all first rate jazz soloists - get together to experience work in a large orchestra from time to time. What distinguishes the GG-CJB from conventional jazz big bands is the fact that George Gruntz writes the entire book specifically for each tour with the talents of the particular musicians in mind. Gruntz' compositions and arrangements for the GG-CJB draw from a wide range of musical sources - jazz, classical, and folk themes. As big band music has once again become increasingly important to the development of contemporary jazz, the GG-CJB has been drawing much attention from jazz audiences and critics around the world. The Down Beat critics poll has regularly listed the band at the top of the TDWR section.
Touring one to three times annually, the band has covered the world by now, including China (two times), Russia, Egypt, Turkey - next to the main circuits through the whole Far East, USA and Canada, and most often of course its native European Continent. They have played all of the major Festivals, such as Northsea, Molde, Pori, Montreux (which resulted 1991 in the Miles Davis album on Qwest), Berlin, Newport/JVC New York (five times!), as well as Vancouver and Montreal in Canada. Their recorded output comprises 15 CD-albums (on ECM, HAT ART, ENJA, TCB and MOTOR/Polygram), next to nearly 20 LP-albums with MPS, ECM and ENJA. The CONCERT JAZZ BAND counts also among to most aired jazz groups on major TV-concerts and tour-documentairies.
Most important tours, concerts and general actgivities of the last few years include 2003 a stint at the legendary New York-Jazzroom BIRDLAND (three sold out nights), 2004 a European Tour with a specially arranged book on Gruntz' Jazzopera "The Magic of a Flute", 2005/06 the recording of one outstanding album "Tiger By The Tail", now accompaning the most recent tours, mainly also in view of three tours in 2007 (#1 around Easter, #2 mid June/mid July, #3 October 2007), covering the bands 35th anniversary year, as well as George Gruntz' 75th birthday.
George Gruntz is a 1st class member of Germany's Legion of honor (Bundesverdienstkreuz Erster Klasse).
Japan's Best Performanced Award 1989: For its historic concert on October 21, 1988 at Tokyo "Kudan Kaikan Hall", the GG-CJB receivced the yearly conferred "Best Performance Award 1988" by the "Japanese Music and Audio Critis Association".
DOWN BEAT Jazz Critics Polls: From 1991 through 2001 the GG-CJB was constantly rated in position 1 to 3 "Big Band Tdwr" by Jazz-Critics from all over the world - 1992 and 1993 in position one (after a cluster of intercontinental tours, two of them national tours throug the United States).