La Crosse Jazz Orchestra (LJO): La Crosse, Wisconsin's jazz band/big band.

About the La Crosse Jazz Orchestra

Scott and Bucky of La Crosse Jazz Orchestra, La Crosse, WI
The La Crosse Jazz Orchestra (LJO), directed by Greg Balfany, is Western Wisconsin's only jazz repertory orchestra and was formed in 1972 to perform "Jazz On A Sunday Afternoon" for the Great River Festival of the Arts Summer Concert Series. The band has continued that tradition and during the last decade has assumed a much larger role performing both concert, dance, and festival series throughout the Coulee Region and at Jazz Festivals both locally and elsewhere. The band has backed up such luminaries as Bob Hope, Melissa Manchester, Randy Brecker, Frank Wess, Red Skelton, Red Holloway, Ed Shaughnessy, Bob Mintzer, Curtis Fuller, Kurt Elling, Bobbi Wilson, Sunny Wilkenson, and Clark Terry.

The band's summer concert series performed free in area parks for the last 36 years has been endowed and named the "Gertrude Salzer Gordon Jazz In the Park Concerts." In addition, the band has performed for arts series in several communities throughout Western Wisconsin and Minnesota as well as numerous conventions. The band has been a regular part of Riverfest for the past twenty plus years appearing in its customary spot before and after the fireworks on July 4th. The LJO has also appeared at festivals throughout the area, most recently appearing at the Onalaska Independence Day celebration with the La Crosse Symphony.

The band has an extensive library of big band classics, contemporary big band, pop, vocal and instrumental features, and dance arrangements. The band's concerts often pay musical tribute to such luminaries as Duke Ellington, Count Basie, Benny Goodman, Les Brown, and/or Glenn Miller. Several of these arrangements appear on the band's compact discs, "Swing Shift," "Swinging Yuletide," and "A Warm Breeze."

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