Progressive Big Band

Jazz music community with reviews, MP3 (free download/stream) and forums

The Progressive Big Band genre is for post-swing era jazz bands who incorporate more modern elements into their music. Some of these elements might include, modern extended harmonies, electronic instruments and effects, fusion based rhythms and avant-garde arrangements.

The first progressive tendencies in big band arranging begin with Duke Ellington and come to full flower in the hands of arrangers such as Charles Mingus, Sun Ra, Gil Evans and Don Ellis.

progressive big band top albums

Showing only albums and live's | Based on members ratings & JMA custom algorithm

SUN RA Angels and Demons at Play Album Cover Angels and Demons at Play
SUN RA
4.93 | 6 ratings
Buy this album from MMA partners
CHARLES MINGUS Let My Children Hear Music Album Cover Let My Children Hear Music
CHARLES MINGUS
4.83 | 14 ratings
Buy this album from MMA partners
ANDREW HILL Passing Ships Album Cover Passing Ships
ANDREW HILL
4.94 | 5 ratings
Buy this album from MMA partners
DAVE HOLLAND What Goes Around Album Cover What Goes Around
DAVE HOLLAND
4.96 | 4 ratings
Buy this album from MMA partners
SUN RA Space Is the Place Album Cover Space Is the Place
SUN RA
4.86 | 7 ratings
Buy this album from MMA partners
TOSHIKO AKIYOSHI Long Yellow Road Album Cover Long Yellow Road
TOSHIKO AKIYOSHI
5.00 | 3 ratings
Buy this album from MMA partners
SUN RA Lanquidity Album Cover Lanquidity
SUN RA
4.78 | 8 ratings
Buy this album from MMA partners
DON ELLIS Autumn Album Cover Autumn
DON ELLIS
4.85 | 4 ratings
Buy this album from MMA partners
SAM RIVERS Inspiration Album Cover Inspiration
SAM RIVERS
5.00 | 2 ratings
Buy this album from MMA partners
GIL EVANS Out of the Cool Album Cover Out of the Cool
GIL EVANS
4.76 | 5 ratings
Buy this album from MMA partners
DUKE ELLINGTON Black, Brown and Beige Album Cover Black, Brown and Beige
DUKE ELLINGTON
4.75 | 4 ratings
Buy this album from MMA partners
SUN RA The Other Side of the Sun Album Cover The Other Side of the Sun
SUN RA
4.88 | 2 ratings
Buy this album from MMA partners
This list is in progress since the site is new. We invite all logged in members to use the "quick rating" widget (stars bellow album covers) or post full reviews to increase the weight of your rating in the global average value (see FAQ for more details). Enjoy JMA!

New progressive big band free MP3/Stream

progressive big band online videos

progressive big band New Releases

.. Album Cover
A Good Time Was Had By All
Live album
THE DANISH RADIO JAZZ ORCHESTRA
Buy this album from MMA partners
.. Album Cover
At The Reception
Album
WAYNE HORVITZ
Buy this album from MMA partners
.. Album Cover
Tribute To Wayne Shorter
Album
DAVE LIEBMAN
Buy this album from MMA partners
.. Album Cover
Live in Ulm, 1992
Live album
SUN RA
Buy this album from MMA partners
.. Album Cover
Shrimp Tale
Album
ALAN CHAN
Buy this album from MMA partners
.. Album Cover
The Chase
Album
DAVID WHITE
Buy this album from MMA partners
.. Album Cover
Live in Nickelsdorf 1984
Live album
SUN RA
Buy this album from MMA partners
.. Album Cover
Sisyphe
Album
PIERRE DE BETHMANN
Buy this album from MMA partners
.. Album Cover
Time Management
Album
KRIS BERG
Buy this album from MMA partners
.. Album Cover
American Adventure
Album
SCOTTISH NATIONAL JAZZ ORCHESTRA
Buy this album from MMA partners
.. Album Cover
Club Lingerie (LA 1985)
Boxset / Compilation
SUN RA
Buy this album from MMA partners
.. Album Cover
Live at The Red Garter
Live album
SUN RA
Buy this album from MMA partners
.. Album Cover
Oh No! Not Jazz!!
Album
ED PALERMO
Buy this album from MMA partners
.. Album Cover
Shawn Maxwell's Alliance
Album
SHAWN MAXWELL
Buy this album from MMA partners
.. Album Cover
BuJazzO vol. 12 : Afropa
Album
BUJAZZO
Buy this album from MMA partners

progressive big band Music Reviews

ALAN SILVA The Shout (Portrait For A Small Woman)

Album · 1979 · Progressive Big Band
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
snobb
Ten years after his legendary debut ("excellent" or "unacceptably chaotic cacophony", depending on the listener's taste) Alan Silva released his third studio album (and first studio recording in ten years) entitled "The Shout (Portrait for a Small Woman)".

At that time, Silva was working as a teacher in the Institute for Art, Culture, and Perception in Paris, and the material comes mostly from his teaching work. He doesn't play any instruments on "The Shout", but instead leads a 21-piece orchestra that is a combination of Silva's "Celestrial Communications Orchestra" plus his students. Silva wrote and arranged all the music and he conducts the orchestra as well.

Musically, this album is not similar to his debut, at least not from the first spin. Seven well structured, completely pre-composed tunes, all under 10 minutes long, are rooted in Ellingtonian tradition and post-bop. But during the listening one can easily hear Silva's background as a late 60s unorthodox experimentalist. All the arrangements contain that non-conformist, even chaotic element, coming from his debut, just here it is presented in a the form of modern European classical composition.

Among the orchestra members, I found just a few known names (at least for me); trumpeters Itaru Oki and Bernard Vitet, and drummer Muhammad Ali are among them, but in all, this collective sounds very professional and inspired playing quite complex compositions.

Much more accessible than the early Silva works, this album still contains lot of his extravaganza, so it could be easily recommended as an entry point. At the same time, it's a great (if obscure) addition to Silva's quite limited collection of releases.

DUKE ELLINGTON Liberian Suite

Album · 1949 · Progressive Big Band
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
js
Duke Ellington was such a prolific composer and performer that there are bound to be some overlooked gems in his vast recorded arsenal, and such is the case with “The Liberian Suite”, recorded in late 1947 and released in 1949. This suite was commissioned by the government of Liberia, who were celebrating the 100 year anniversary of their founding by freed slaves from the US. The original “Liberian Suite” was initially released by itself on a 10" LP. Later it was teamed with “A Tone Parallel to Harlem” for release on a 12” LP. After that, “Liberian Suite” was not re-issued often until recently when Columbia included it on their CD re-issue of “Ellington Uptown”.

“Liberian Suite” is not one of Ellington’s most ambitious works, especially compared to the “Black Brown and Beige Suite” that preceded it, and “A Tone Parallel to Harlem” that will follow in a few years. Instead, the ideas on “Liberian” are more direct and easier to absorb, creating a work that is more cohesive and easier to follow than some of Ellington’s more sprawling musical architectures. That’s what is special about this suite, it really works and it really connects with the listener. As is usual with all of Ellington’s ‘suites’, “Liberian” does not follow classical forms or imitate the classical composer’s tendency toward thematic development and recapitulation, instead, this piece wanders from one idea to the next, but with a creative flow that makes total sense and keeps the listener thoroughly engaged. Its hard to think of another composer who can work with such constant forward motion and still come up with something this logical and coherent.

As is usual, Duke’s band is outstanding on here. Ellington was smart enough to pay his men better than most, insuring that he had a very cohesive unit made up of musicians who were often with him for several decades. There are many highlights on here, Al Hibbler’s understated and thoughtful vocal delivery on the semi-mystical “I Like the Sunrise”, and Tyree Glenn’s exotic vibraphone solo on “Dance Number 2” are both worth mentioning. Another top contribution is Sonny Greer’s imaginative tympani playing that drives the band with a mix of African and western symphonic musicality. There are so many more inspired musicians and moments on here that is pointless to list them all, but to sum up, this music was ahead of its time then, and will continue to be so for many years to come. No one else in the world sounds like this. Its also worth mentioning that no doubt Ellington’s very important co-contributor, Billy Strayhorn, had much to do with the writing and arranging on here.

DUKE ELLINGTON Soul Call

Live album · 1967 · Progressive Big Band
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
js
The lengthy opening cut to this album would make a great subject for one of those blindfold tests. Who are we listening to here … Mingus … Sun Ra? Julius Hemphill or the Art Ensemble of Chicago with a few guests might have been good guesses too, but they weren’t on the scene yet when this album came out. All of those previously mentioned artists would be glad to point out that Duke Ellington was a major influence on them, and on the excursion called “La Plus Belle Africaine” from Ellington’s “Soul Call”, its clear, at least in the case of Mingus and Sun Ra, that influence may have come full circle. The lengthy “Belle African” opens with some jagged African lines on the piano and drums before a massive horn attack announces the main theme, Mingus fans will recognize the base power of this simple line. As this song snakes along with a relaxed and sometimes dissonant African hum, John Lamb plays a dronish solo on the bowed double bass and Harry Carney follows with a bluesy solo on the baritone pushed by extra horn arrangements and more jagged piano from Ellington. When things get a little more quiet again, Jimmy Hamilton enters with a sublime snake-charmer solo on the clarinet that sounds more like Rimsky-Korsakov’s old school exoticism than jazz. Its one more of those odd juxtapositions of the old and the new that make this album unique.

The opener is the highlight, but the rest of the album is no slouch either, and longtime fans may find the band a little easier to recognize now too, ha. Side one closes with “West Indian Pancake”, an up-tempo number with a syncopated Carribean rhythm, and an extended solo for Paul Gonsalves. Side two opens with the high speed bop of “Soul Call”, which is followed by the well known vehicle for drummer Sam Woodyard’s soloing, “Skin Deep”. The album closes with “Jam with Sam”, a fast paced track which allows Duke a chance to announce soloists while they take a quick few bars, its good cheezy fun and played with chaotic abandon by the band. Along with the great music on “Soul Call“, you also get Duke’s discreetly funny ‘charming’ in between song patter that veers between sarcastically suave and borderline self satire. His lines can contain sexual and racial innuendo designed to entertain his band-mates and sail right over the heads of his audience. The crowd noise seems to be a mix of real and canned supplement.

Ellington fans will certainly enjoy this, but particularly those who like some of his more unusual output. Fans of odd albums, such as Sun Ra’s “Angels and Demons at Play”, that mix old and new elements in jazz, might want to give this a shot too. There is also a CD re-issue of this LP available that features many additional tracks.

SUN RA Space Is the Place

Album · 1973 · Progressive Big Band
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
siLLy puPPy
Donning a tripped out headpiece and looking like a crazed cult leader flagging down the next comet to ride to another world, SUN RA takes his Astro Intergalactic Infinity Arkestra to strange musical places on this one-of-a-kind journey of excess called SPACE IS THE PLACE. Despite the name this is no space jazz or ambient album. This is some unusually unorthodox big band music here. First flight takes us to the 21 minute plus title track which sees the entire Arkestra taking turns gleefully shouting out the mantra “SPACE IS THE PLACE!” It is a fun and playful salute to the outer and inner galaxies that takes us on a parade through a minimalist rotisserie of strange variations throughout its entire run.

After that party is over we are suddenly plunged back to what sounds like a piano bar on the second track “Images.” It's a nice mellow track that is followed by another slightly more upbeat track called “Discipline.” Together these Earthly tracks bely the strangeness that is to come. Although they sound like more traditional jazz pieces, SUN RA is a master of mixing different styles of jazz with African drumming patterns which creates a totally unique and bizarre effect.

Time to head to space again with the avant-jazz sounds of “Sea Of Sounds.” This frenetic freaky piece is really out there and vaguely reminds me of the spastic horn solos of John Zorn, only this full Arkestra succeeds in weaving a spacey tripped-out tapestry of strange riffs that sound completely random but after close inspection patterns can be discerned as the instruments take turns emphasizing them. The next tripped-out musical outburst is the closer “Rocket Number Nine.” Here we get some strange keyboard solos that truly must have been channeled by aliens.

I have only heard a handful of SUN RA albums and this one is my favorite so far. Clearly this album shows me that this strange masterful musician is one of the great under-the-radar musical geniuses in musical history. His prolific output is daunting but after hearing masterpieces like this, it only makes me want to dive right in and see what other cosmic craziness awaits discovery.

TOSHIYUKI MIYAMA & THE NEW HERD Canto Of Libra

Album · 1970 · Progressive Big Band
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
snobb
Japanese reeds player and orchestra leader Toshiyuki Miyama led fashionable at the time big band starting from mid 60s.Hits-oriented orchestra played everything from big band arrangements of pop-songs to Beatles covers,etc, released some albums incl. some commercial releases without artists name on the cover.Being flexible leader Toshiyuki tried to keep his music on the top of the day's fashion.

Quite surprisingly, Japanese musical scene have been taken by storm by few Japanese free jazz expatriates,returned back from States in 1968-69. Free jazz became most fashionable music for two or three years ahead. Toshiyuki reacted immediately, turning his jazz-rock orchestra (in late 60s he switched from orchestrated pop-tunes to rock covers,adding electric guitarist)towards experimental free sound.

His New Herd was improved by one of the leader of new fashion pianist Masahiko Satoh and new collective recorded in 1970 first ever free-jazz orchestra album in Japan. To be honest, music on the album is quite strange - it often sounds like orchestra tries hard to play "new thing" without actual knowledge what it really is.

Guest pianist Masahiko Satoh (he will become a star just some months later)wrote five-piece suite,which combines elements of modern creative avantgarde,jazz fusion and free improvisation,all spiced with brassy big band arrangements and fashionable rock-jazz electric guitars soloing.Some parts are obviously over-arranged with massive brass section's sound (four trumpets,four trombones,five saxophones), another sound close to minimalist avantgarde. Masahiko Satoh plays piano together with regular orchestra pianist (Miyama will use this double-piano scheme in his orchestra for some upcoming years). Surprisingly, level of adventurousness is so high that as rule music doesn't sound as raw or chaotic as one could expect.

Masahiko will start short but very successful solo career just in few months after release of "Canto Of Lybra", Miyama's New Herd will work with some leading Japanese free jazz soloists till mid 70s (some their albums will take highest positions in Japanese experimental jazz legacy)and later will turn once again towards heavy orchestrated mainstream jazz and easy listening.

progressive big band movie reviews

No progressive big band movie reviews posted yet.

Artists with Progressive Big Band release(s)

JMA TOP 5 Jazz ALBUMS

Rating by members, ranked by custom algorithm
Albums with 30 ratings and more
Kind of Blue Cool Jazz
MILES DAVIS
Buy this album from our partners
A Love Supreme Post Bop
JOHN COLTRANE
Buy this album from our partners
The Black Saint and the Sinner Lady Post Bop
CHARLES MINGUS
Buy this album from our partners
'Out to Lunch!' Avant-Garde Jazz
ERIC DOLPHY
Buy this album from our partners
Giant Steps Hard Bop
JOHN COLTRANE
Buy this album from our partners

New Jazz Artists

New Jazz Releases

Live (with Thurston Moore) Jazz Related Improvisation
THE THING
Buy this album from MMA partners
Look To Your Own Heart Vocal Jazz
LISA EKDAHL
Buy this album from MMA partners
Collier & Dean : Sleek Buick Classic Fusion
TOM COLLIER
Buy this album from MMA partners
More new releases

New Free Jazz MP3 download/stream

New Jazz Online Videos

All These Things, sung by John Boutté
JOHN BOUTTÉ
js· 19 hours ago
Eric Johnson & Mike Stern - Eclectic
ERIC JOHNSON
js· 1 day ago
Rasa Rasa Made Music
KENNY WOLLESEN
js· 2 days ago
More videos

New JMA Jazz Forum Topics

More in the forums

New Site interactions

More...

Latest Jazz News

members-submitted

More in the forums

Social Media

Share this site
Follow us