About the La Crosse Jazz Orchestra
The LJO, Western Wisconsin's only jazz repertory orchestra, was formed in 1974 to perform "Jazz On A Sunday Afternoon" for the Great River Festival of the Arts Summer Concert Series. The band continues that tradition while expanding its role, performing for concerts, dances and festivals throughout the greater La Crosse region.
The band has backed up internationally recognized jazz talent as well as some of the region's best talent. The band's summer concert series, performed free in area parks for the last 44 years, has been partially 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 also appeared at festivals throughout the area, most recently appearing at the Caledonia summer concerts series and La Crosse's own Moon Tunes.
The LJO has an extensive library of big band classics, contemporary big band, pop, vocal and instrumental features, and dance arrangements. Concerts often pay musical tribute to such luminaries as Duke Ellington, Alan Baylock, Count Basie, Benny Goodman, Gordon Goodwin, and/or Glenn Miller. Several of these arrangements appear on the band's compact discs, "Swing Shift," "Swinging Yuletide," and "A Warm Breeze."
In addition to its own concerts, the band has backed up such luminaries as Janet Planet, Melissa Manchester, Randy Brecker, Frank Wess, Red Skelton, Red Holloway, Ed Shaughnessy, Bob Mintzer, Curtis Fuller, Kurt Elling, Reed Grimm, Sunny Wilkenson, and Steve Torme.