Jazz Orchestra Big Band Swing Band Jazz Band
The Matt McCallie Orchestra has deep roots in jazz. Most of our musicians have lived and loved jazz music since early childhood. Jazz is a truly indigenous American art form developed in a unique melting pot of cultures. Jazz music reaches beyond the soulful sadness of the blues, tells stories like folk and early country, and like popular music it exalts the joyfulness of life.
Jazz musicians are best known for their ability to improvise like the classical musicians of old. Classical music on keyed instruments is rarely still heard as it was originally performed with improvisation over harmonic progressions notated with Roman Numerals.
Some say a musician who can play jazz can play any style. While this may be an exaggeration in general it is made true by The Matt McCallie Orchestra since we literally do play nearly every popular style of music.
Jazz musicians have incredible skills in interpretation. Their ability to articulate the colorful timbres of a melody with subtle inflections so that each time the head is played it is slightly different and still and interesting is one of the most enjoyable aspects one's ears most readily appreciate.
Types OF Jazz
Jazz has many idioms. Here are just a few examples of the many varieties under the category of jazz.
Twelve Bar Blues
The Matt McCallie Orchestra
The Matt McCallie Orchestra is unlike any big band or jazz band in St. Louis. No other local big band has a full time strings section. The reason is simple. Very little printed big band music has parts written for strings. Of the few that do most merely have a reduced score for a synthesizer.
Because we have such talented musicians our band has written many of its own arrangements of popular jazz standards. While the work involved in creating our own arrangements and transcribing and adding string parts
heard in original recordings by artists like Frank Sinatra
is a massive endeavor, the sound of The Matt
McCallie Orchestra is well worth the effort.
Most of our arrangements incorporate the traditional 18 piece
big band instrumentation as well as violin, viola, and cello. Some
of our arrangements are written for more than 40 instruments with parts for harp, additional wind instruments, and over a dozen auxiliary percussion parts such as congas, timpani, triangle,
wind chimes, orchestral bells, and other instruments for
a sound that is truly amazing.
Also unique to our band is our full time vocalist. Most St. Louis
big bands hire various guest singers. We are fortunate to have a vocalist who can cover most male and female ranges. And many
of our arrangements are written to feature our singer to bring out
the best of the melodies supported expertly by our orchestra's
skilled and dedicated musicians.
Big Band Vocal Jazz
The Matt McCallie Orchestra big band is the most impressive in
St. Louis. As a jazz orchestra there are none like us in the area
using a full time vocalist, horn section,
rhythm section, and strings section.
Our live sound is like that of internationally touring acts.
The full, orchestral sound of modern jazz vocalists like
Harry Connick, Jr., Michael Bublé, Tony Bennett, and
Diana Krall is much like that of The Matt McCallie Orchestra.
Vocal stylings with our big band music sound most alike Chet Baker, Harry Connick, Jr., Michael Bublé, Diana Krall, Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis, Jr., Louis Armstrong, and Nat King Cole.
The rich sentiments of poetic lyrics, familiar and evocative melodies, and gorgeous harmonic progressions culminates in timeless musical treasures. All of the warmth and beauty of jazz ballads from the American songbook is treated with great respect and care by
The Matt McCallie Orchestra.
Many of the jazz ballads we perform have been arranged
by us exclusively for our orchestra. Some of our arrangements
have over a year of development, being crafted and
honed into musical perfection.
Big Band Instrumental Swing
Our instrumental big band library consists of well over
1,000 songs in both digital and printed archives. We play
many of the same arrangements and stock charts that
most big bands around the world perform.
Most big band music is written for at least an 18 piece instrumentation. It is understandable that not every client can accommodate the size or fees of a band this size. We recommend
at minimum a band of at least 9 musicians to maintain some harmony in the saxophones, trombones, and trumpets
sections in addition to rhythm.
Bigger is better. A discerning ear will hear the difference as
each inner and outer harmony part is added in each section.
The Matt McCallie Orchestra always strives to provide the
best sound possible. Performing with the full instrumentation
of the written music is most desirable.
Most of the jazz performed by The Matt McCallie Orchestra is
made for dancing. Slow or fast there are many types of
dances popular to swing dancing.
Typical of most big bands The Matt McCallie Orchestra plays a variety of feels and tempos. Some of which can include: