The Mike Stewart Big Band is the latest and most exciting project Mike has undertaken since arriving back from New York.
While in New York I spent a great deal of time listening and performing with exceptional big bands. In particular, the Village Vanguard Orchestra (my teacher Ralph Lalama would put me on the door almost every Monday night), and the Jon Faddis Jazz Orchestra (successor to the Carnegie Hall Jazz Band). I also spent time performing in and directing the Purchase Jazz Orchestra while in graduate school.
This helped me develop a much deeper understanding of the sound, repertoire and importance of big bands in jazz. Suffering from withdrawals on my return to Australia, I decided to start my own.
The Mike Stewart Big Band is comprised of some of Adelaide's finest jazz musicians who meet every Thursday night to rehearse and perform a wide variety of music. The first Thursday of every month is devoted to a public gig at The Promethean.
The aim of the ensemble is to keep the professional skills at a high standard, especially as much of the music very demanding. More importantly however it allows skilled musicians of all ages, from a variety of musical backgrounds to come together in one place to share in some "musical fellowship". It provides opportunities for promising young players to come and learn from the more experienced players and for us all to commune and enjoy making great music together.
The band plays the music of great writers such as Thad Jones, Bob Brookmeyer, Bob Mintzer, Frank Foster and will soon commission local writers to compose works specifically for us.
The Mike Stewart Big Band is quickly gaining popularity and support. During its short span it has performed with Bob Mintzer and Ross Irwin, and has rehearsed with John Hoffman. The band hopes to feature many local, interstate and international artists in the near future.
Please come and see the band on the first Thursday of every month at The Promethean, 116 Grote Street, Adelaide. 7.30 - 10pm. $10/$5, tickets at the door.