About the La Crosse Jazz Orchestra
The La Crosse Jazz Orchestra, western Wisconsin's premier big band, 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 street dances, festivals and other concerts throughout the greater La Crosse region.
Now in its 45th season, the LJO's Jazz in the Park series provide free big band concerts throughout the summer in Riverside Park. In addition, the band has performed for arts series in several communities in Wisconsin and Minnesota as well as numerous conventions. The LJO has also appeared at festivals throughout the area, such as La Crosse's own Moon Tunes and the Caledonia Street Block Party.
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 internationally recognized jazz artists as well as some of the region's best talent: Janet Planet, Melissa Manchester, Randy Brecker, Frank Wess, Red Skelton, Red Holloway, Ed Shaughnessy, Bob Mintzer, Curtis Fuller, Kurt Elling, Reed Grimm, Sunny Wilkenson, Steve Torme and many more.
To promote, preserve and forward the creation of jazz music through live performances available to all in our region.
The La Crosse Jazz Orchestra operates under fiscal sponsorship from La Crosse Community Foundation.
"For 45 years, Jazz in the Park has been one of the coolest ways to spend a Sunday evening. The wonderful and talented musicians, the beautiful setting at Riverside Park and the sense of community makes this a true celebration of La Crosse." –Tim Kabat, Mayor, City of La Crosse