LJO Goes Virtual With New YouTube Channel


“Easy To Love” is the first release in a planned series of virtual big band performances by the La Crosse Jazz Orchestra.

"Arranger John Clayton called for eight brass, five saxes and four rhythm, and we added a few more to allow all our members to contribute," says LJO director Greg Balfany. "Production of 'Easy Money' required several weeks of work and the development of new skills in mixing and video editing for two of the band members. Each musician received their part via email and went to work learning the notes, rhythms and nuances. Drums and bass created an initial foundation track playing along with a digital metronome. That’s called playing with a click track. Following their splendid effort, the lead trumpet and alto sax were added."

A new master play-along track was mixed, added to the click track and sent as an audio download to everyone else in the band. Band members were asked to record their part using an iPhone or similar device to capture video as well as their individual part. Those files were sent to Balfany to separate the audio from the video.

All the videos were sent to Karyn Quinn of LJO for compilation and organization. After the video files were synced and the audio files were mixed, some reverb and other processing was added. The file was sent to Sound Strations Audio for final mastering and the result is what you see and hear.

This version of Benny Carter’s “Easy Money” was first recorded by the Clayton Hamilton Big Band. Trumpeter Jon Ailabouni, trombonist Mark Glasel, saxophonist Greg Balfany and drummer Rich MacDonald all take solo nods in this hard-swinging selection.

"The current health crisis may well be with us for many more months," Balfany says. "We hope these recordings, along with some band interviews, help you through these times without live music! As you can imagine, funding for the band is a serious challenge this year. You can help us out by going to our donate page."



The La Crosse Jazz Orchestra is Western Wisconsin's premier big band. Directed by Greg Balfany, the group is best known through its Jazz in the Park concert series. The LJO mission: to promote, preserve and forward the creation of jazz music through free live performances available to all in our region. LJO operates under fiscal sponsorship from La Crosse Community Foundation.