Jim McNeely

It seems like ancient history now, when we prepared for the 2019-2020 season. How times have changed! Now as the world copes with the Corona crisis we slowly and carefully emerge from our lockdowns.

I am thrilled that I have signed a new contract as chief conductor with the hr-Bigband. I thank hr for putting their faith in me. The band—musicians, management and technical crew—can be sure of my faith in them. This will be my tenth season as chief conductor. I will be leading a number of exciting projects, which celebrate the past, present and future of jazz.

From the past we have programs devoted to the music of Duke Ellington, as re-worked by Alexander Von Schlippenbach, John Beasley, Miho Hazama and myself. There is also a program devoted to the repertoire of the classic Miles Davis Quintet from their 1960 European tour.

From the present day we have a program devoted to the Village Vanguard, New York City’s premier jazz club, featuring Gary Smulyan and Dick Oatts, two longtime members of the Vanguard Jazz Orchestra. We also have a second collaboration with the fantastic vocalist Lizz Wright.

And leading us into the future are three young international jazz stars: vocalist Jazzmeia Horn (USA), saxophonist Melissa Aldana (Chile), and bassist Linda May Han Oh (Malaysia/Australia). Each one has a unique voice in her music.

I’m looking forward to coming back to Frankfurt, working with the band and seeing old friends. In Billy Strayhorn’s words: »Ever up and onward!«

Jim McNeely