March 3, 2001
A Tribute to Thad Jones and the
Village Vanguard Jazz Ochestra

The UCSB Jazz Ensemble presents a concert of music by Thad Jones, Bob Brookmeyer, and Jim McNeely for the Thad Jones/Mel Lewis Orchestra, currently call the Vanguard Jazz Orchestra. This ensemble has performed every monday night for over 20 years at New York's famed Village Vanguard jazz club, and countless top musicians and arranger/composers have graced its ranks. The first half of this program was perfroemd at the 2001 Annual Reno International Jazz Festival, for the band' second appearance at that presitgious high school and university festival.

A harmonically advanced trumpeter/cornetist with a distinctive sound and a talented arranger/composer, Thad Jones (the younger brother of Hank and older brother of Elvin) had a very productive career. Self-taught on trumpet, he started playing professionally when he was 16 with Hank Jones and Sonny Stitt. After serving in the military (1943-46), Jones worked in territory bands in the Midwest. During 1950-53, he performed regularly with Billy Mitchell's quintet in Detroit and he made a few recordings with Charles Mingus (1954-55). Jones became well-known during his long period (1954-63) with Count Basie's Orchestra, taking a "Pop Goes the Weasel" chorus on "April in Paris" and sharing solo duties with Joe Newman. While with Basie, Jones had the opportunity to write some arrangements and he became a busy free-lancer writer after 1963. He joined the staff of CBS, co-led a quintet with Pepper Adams and near the end of 1965 organized a big band with drummer Mel Lewis that, from February 1966 on, played Monday nights at the Village Vanguard. During the next decade, the orchestra (although always a part-time affair) became famous and gave Jones an outlet for his writing. He composed one standard ("A Child Is Born") along with many fine pieces including "Fingers, Little Pixie and Tiptoe."n 1978 Jones surprised Lewis by suddenly leaving the band and moving to Denmark, an action he never explained. He wrote for a radio orchestra and led his own group called Eclipse. In late 1984, Jones took over the leadership of the Count Basie Orchestra but within a year bad health forced him to retire. He passe d away in 1986 while living in Denmark.

Ensemble Members


Ding Dong Ding Bob Brookmeyer

Thad Jim McNeely

Central Park North Thad Jones

Cherry Juice Thad Jones


Second Race Thad Jones

First Love Song Bob Brookmeyer

Groove Merchant Jerome Richardson, arr. by Thad Jones

Once Around Thad Jones