Since their founding in 2006 the 17 piece Asheville Jazz Orchestra has become western North Carolina’s premier big band. Their mission is twofold. First, through recreating the swing era hits of the 1930s and 1940s the AJO strives to rekindle an awareness of this rich and innovative jazz style. Secondly, the AJO considers it vital to help the big band tradition evolve through performing works by contemporary composers and arrangers. Whether they’re playing your favorite big band era hits at a swing dance or performing a brand new composition written by a band member in a formal concert, the AJO is dedicated to both preserving and advancing the uniquely American art form of jazz.
The musicians who perform with the AJO rank among some of the finest jazz musicians in the area. Band members bring their experiences performing with luminary groups such as the Glenn Miller Orchestra, Mel Tormé, When Swing Was King, the Tommy Dorsey Orchestra, the Nelson Riddle Orchestra, and Guy Lombardo’s Royal Canadian’s. They also bring their performing experiences into the classroom, teaching music to ages ranging from middle school students at North Buncombe and Owen Middle Schools to adults at Mars Hill College, the University of North Carolina at Asheville, and Western Carolina University. The AJO regularly performs educational music festivals, including the UNCA Jazz Festival, the Patton High School Jazz Festival and the Western Carolina University Trumpet Festival.