There are more knowledgeable folks on this site than me, but I recommend the Buddy Rich Big Band or Woody Herman's Thundering Herd. If you want driving music that bridges rock and big band, you might try Chase "Pure Music".
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dig plenty of them at trhift stores quarter...dollar per piece: tommy dorsey, ted heath, benny goodman, stan kenton, artie shaw, paul mauriat, michelle legrand, gene krupa
you can also dig onto exotic big bands of arthur lyman, martin denny and rich hyman.
there are also modern big bands such as Microscopic Septet, WDR big band(latin).
If you're coming from a rock perspective, you might check out Cab Calloway who influenced a lot of the 70s dance bands.
If you want to stay more mainstream, Tommy Dorsey, Harry James, and Count Basie are also good choices IMO.
You might also try to work backwards thru pop or rock big bands, like Squirrel Nut Zippers, Joe Jackson's Jumping Jive, or any of the Z records bands (Kid Creole, Dr Buzzard's Original Savannah Band, or Elbow Bones and the Racketeers, for example). The Z records guys are all hybrid jazz/dance/disco bands that were Cab Calloway inspired, so the transition there feels really straightforward.
Ray Sings, Basie Swings; and Diane Schuur and the Count Basie Orchestra are two of my favorite CDs.
Really, everyone's suggestions above are good. I happen to be a particular fan of Grusin and Goodwin.
Harry Connick Jr. can swing with the best of them.
I encourage you to check out your local big band scene. IMO, a live show is the best experience for a big band. Also, my guess is that you will discover some fantastic musicians, and you will learn a little more about the styles you prefer and those you don't.
Some great suggestions here. I can second a recommendation for Gordon Goodwin's Big Phat Band and Marty has some interesting ideas.
One group that you might enjoy is Roomful of Blues. While not a traditional big band, their horn section drives great orchestration for the west coast jump blues genre. My favorites are the albums with Sugar Ray Norcia as lead singer: "Dance all Night", Turn It On, Turn It Up", and "Under One Roof". If you like this style, Sugar Ray Norcia's solo albums are worth checking out- particularly the last two or three releases.
To everyone else not looking for typos: ) Thank you all so very much...some awesome suggestions....did a bunch of sampling on Amazon.... For one, the Microscopic Septet sounds extremely promising.
What's this "Pandora" that you speak of? Does that have something to do with the Google or the Interweb? ; )
Well, I've never commented on a typo before, but "Hard
Bob"? C'mon. That's too funny. I think he starred in
"Star Whores" and "The Empire Strikes
OK, if you want a great big band record, pick up
Basie Straight Ahead. Charts by Sammy Nestico. Check out
Basie - Magic Flea on You Tube, which is off that record.
Some good suggestions so far. For someone who likes Duke Ellington and Hard Bob, I mean Hard Bop I particularly like the Count Basie (duh!), Woody Herman's Thundering Herd, and Goodwin's Big Phat Band recs. I would add:
Thad Jones/Mel Lewis Big Band:
Kenny Clark/Francy Boland Big Band (a litle hard to find)
Rob MacConnell's Boss Brass. If you are into vinyl and can find his Direct to Disc LP's on the Umbrella label they are dynamite.
And if you like classic vocals with big band, "Frank Sinatra At The Sands" is a must have:
^^^ I'm a Rich/Ellis/Kenton fan too, as well as Louie Bellson and Count Basie.
I particularly like the Buddy Rich stuff on Pacific Jazz, his first label with his new band that premiered in 1966--Swingin' New Big Band, Big Swing Face, The New One, Mercy Mercy, Buddy and Soul, and Keep the Customer Satisfied. Then he had a stint with RCA. The music is good, but the recordings are a bit thin sounding. For an album or two in the mid-'70s he was with a small label called Groove Merchant. One of the albums from this period, "The Roar of '74," is a kick-ass fusion album--hard rocking with great charts, sharp musicians, and Buddy driving hard instead of swinging. He also did a direct-to-disk recording called "Class of '78."
It's really hard to go wrong with Basie from any era. His stuff on Pablo is great, especially when he had Butch Miles on drums. He also did a great album with Tony Bennett called "Strike Up the Band."
Another great great band, drummer, and band leader was Louie Bellson. I saw him live in 1975, and have a Pablo album recorded within a couple weeks of that gig. It's called "The Louie Bellson Explosion" with Blue Mitchell, Snooky Young, and Cat Anderson in the trumpet section, Don Menza and Pete Christlieb trading tenor sax solos (Menza did the big solo in Buddy Rich's Channel One Suite on Mercy, Mercy; Christlieb was the sax soloist in Steely Dan's Deacon Blues), plus Ross Tomkins on keyboards. Bellson and band also did an album with James Brown called "Soul on Top."
So much great big band music from years ago. Basie and Ellington alone is a gold mine. Most digital remasters are quite good if you like this music. I love it more and more as the years pass.
The music world could benefit from a big band revival IMHO. THis is fun, grand sounding music on a large scale. So many possibilities. The time is right! SO many baby boomers and later that have never had the opportunity to appreciate this music. Its a breathe of fresh air given much of what followed it in popularity. Does what goes around come back around ever?
Try "Songs From Lonely Avenue" by Brian Setzer Orchestra.
I also always keep an eye out for good compilation releases whenever I might find them like those from Time/Life for example that focus on specific years or time periods to get a nice sampling of various artists
This is exactly big band, but I think you might find it an interesting musical hybrid with a lot of hard bop elements. Much of the music is played by musicians numbering between quintets and octets. Needless to say, Ginger Baker gives the music tremendous propulsive drive. http://www.allmusic.com/album/coward-of-the-county-mw0000241034