CECILIA COLEMAN BIG BAND Long known as an inventive pianist and a skilled composer, a year ago Cecilia Coleman also became a significant big band leader. She told her friend trumpeter-music publisher Don Sickler that she would love to write some big band arrangements and asked for his thoughts. ?The most helpful thing that Don said to me was to make sure that I start with a sketch. I looked at my arrangements for my quintet and realized that they were all potential sketches for a big band. I wrote two arrangements right away and then it snowballed.?
After having written many arrangements in a short period of time, Cecilia naturally wanted to hear what the music sounded like, so she started her own band. ?What essentially started as a rehearsal band quickly turned into a serious endeavor due in large part to the overwhelming support I received from the musicians I have met these past 12 years. After rehearsals, they would call or write me and say how much they enjoyed my music and tell me that I had to keep it going. That this was something new and different. They have been so supportive and enthusiastic which makes this very rewarding for me. The big band has become the love of my life.”
The 18-piece Cecilia Coleman Big Band, which includes six saxophonists including a soprano player, has a regular gig at the Garage in Greenwich Village. They have also played at the Zinc Bar, Fat Cat, the St. Peters Jazz at Midday concert series, and the Baha’i Center. “Oh Boy”, the orchestra’s debut recording,was released in September 2011 .
Thoroughly enjoying leading her orchestra and determined to build upon its success, Cecilia Coleman looks towards the future with enthusiasm. ?We are looking to get sponsorship for the big band, conduct clinics and perform at festivals. While we enjoy playing in New York, I would love for us to play elsewhere too.? With the release of Oh Boy and the continuous flow of inventive works from its leader, it seems only a matter of time before the Cecilia Coleman Big Band becomes a major musical force.
By EDWARD BLANCO, Published: September 5, 2011 excerpt of CCBB “OH BOY” Review from All About Jazz
The phrase “Oh boy,” can be a statement of excitement, an expression of an event that grabs your attention or, in this case, an appropriate reaction to the swinging orchestrations from the Cecilia Coleman Big Band. Oh Boy! is a powerful draw and the debut album from pianist/composer Coleman’s new group, presenting thundering big band music of a contemporary nature. Best known for her various working quintet’s that have produced five albums since 1992, Coleman formed the group in January 2010 after writing several big band charts for others which in turn, inspired a rehearsal band of her own.
Cecilia Coleman never set out to become a big band leader, stating that it was “never a dream of mine to have a big band,” but the Cecilia Coleman Big Band is her new reality?and Oh Boy!, what a swinging affair, this very first recording effort turns out to be. This is classic big band music infused with a bolt of raw energy and mounds of excitement.