‘Birdland Big Band’ at Hylton Performing Arts Center by Audrey Thornton

A dynamic, new ensemble directed by Tommy Igoe (Drums); Nick Marchione, August Haas, Mat Jodrell, and Brandon Lee (Trumpets); Dave Bargeron, Mark Miller and James Borowski (Trombones); Nathan Childers, Alejandro Aviles, Rob Middleton, and Tony Lustig (Saxes); Whitney Ashe (Piano); and Phil Palombi (Bass) started off its month-long U.S. tour in an intimate luxurious setting of the Hylton Performing Arts Center, in Manassas, Virginia on January 25, 2013 at 8:00 p.m. before an appreciative audience of seasoned jazz lovers.

Bordland Big Band. Photo courtesy of tommyigoe.com.
Birdland Big Band. Photo courtesy of tommyigoe.com.

New York’s iconic Birdland, considered the mecca of jazz, and named after infamous alto saxophonist, Charlie “Bird” Parker, is home to the Birdland Big Band. Igoe’s vision is to set a new standard by infusing Jazz, Latin and Brazilian music into an unforgettable musical event that would contribute to the revitalization of the 21st-century jazz orchestra. Just six short years from its inception, Birdland Big Band has become a wildly popular weekly attraction in New York City. To further accomplish his vision of bringing original arrangements, contemporary compositions, and select historical works to the masses, Igoe assembled a library and repertoire of “jazz-forward” works to shine the light on musicians and composers not yet part of the American jazz scene.

The evening’s offerings included tributes to Thelonius Monk, “Bemsha Swing” with Miles Davis; a Count Basie 1981 tribute by Rob McConnell, “My Man Bill” and a 1959 Count Basie tribute by Thad Jones, “The Deacon” with David Bergeron on trombone. An Art Blakey tribute, “Moanin’” arr. by Bobby Timmons, with Rob Middleton on tenor sax drew audience applause; as did Chick Corea’s “Chick Corea’” with Phil Palumbo on bass and Tony Lustig on baritone sax.

A new piece in their library, “Quartermaster” named after a bar in New Orleans, and the product of a colleague’s masters’ thesis in jazz music arrangement was EXCELLENT—with a New Orleans sound and feel, showcased especially the trumpet duo by Nicholas Marchione and Mat Jordrell. The first piece written for themselves—“Common Ground” by Mike Stearns, a ballad featuring Nathan Childers and Rob Middleton on saxes, Igoe stated rekindled who they are as a band and which has become a staple “standard bearer” in their NY/Birdland home base. Finally, a Tribute to Birdland, always their last piece to end NY shows with, featuring Rob Middleton on sax left the audience happy and satiated.


A selection from their recent album CD Eleven (Eleven compositions released 11/11/11 by Avatar Studios, in Manhattan, New York), has four 2012 Grammy Award nominations.

Run time: One hour, with no intermission.

The Birdland Big Band played January 25, 2013 at 8:00 p.m., at the Hylton Performing Arts Center – 10920 George Mason Circle, in Manassas, Virginia. For future tickets check their calendar online, or call the box office at (703) 993-7759.



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