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Most people look at me in disbelief when I tell them I run a 19 piece jazz band. They can’t believe someone my age would have an interest in such a thing. I say it’s the greatest music ever. Imagine, so many people playing together in precise time, sections playing melodies and harmonies together as one unit, everybody thinking as one mind, even as one of the saxophones starts to make up a solo on the spot. That’s music to me. It takes something a little extra to be one cohesive group with so many members, and when it goes just right… You can’t beat it!

 The Bad News Jazz & Blues Orchestra was founded in 2012 after I had a chance sit-in performance with the Paul Collins Quintet. A rare Facebook post I made led to an old high school friend stopping in to hear, and we began to talk. He had attempted to form a big band a few years earlier, but it hadn’t worked out to expectations. I told him I knew several willing players, I just lacked music and leadership experience. And so we gave it a shot.

 After about a year, we were forming a nice core group of players, but I suddenly lost my partner and band leader to a busy work and gig schedule. Unsure how to precisely proceed, I took the reins and really haven’t looked back. The greatest part of learning on the fly is all the great advice I get from the talented musicians I have accumulated over the years. I’ve been incredibly fortunate to play with music educators, professional performers, and lifelong hobbyists like myself, all of whom have had indescribable impact on my life.

 Our first performance was at the Florence Music on the Porch Series in 2013, and quickly followed that up with a 40th anniversary party. We were now off and running. Since that summer, we have played the Pioneer Valley and beyond, from Westfield to Orange, MA and anywhere in between. A small outdoor concert or an evening of dinner and dancing, we’ve been able to do it all and more.

 The band has never sounded as good as it does right now, and that will hold true tomorrow, and the next day. Though we have had to say goodbye to some members over the years, a few very recently, it has only made us stronger as a group. I can’t wait to see what the next 6 years have in store for me and the band.




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