Who doesn’t love the sweet sound of Philadelphia Tradition?
The Philadelphia Ambassadors Big Band hopes to bring that tradition back with a bang, as they swing around every corner of Philadelphia with the tradition of Jazz. Lead by Dylan Band, a current Temple student with a passion for Jazz, and Joseph Block, a Germantown Friends School student who has a feel for swing, this band hopes to bring the sweet tradition back to life, as they play charts written by Duke Ellington, Count Basie, Stan Kenton, and many other great artists.
“I got together with Dylan Band, and we kinda started asking people last summer ‘Do you wanna join a big band with us?'” Joseph Block said. “Generally we just like this; we just love big band music.”
Along with the want and urge to start a big band, there was another big opportunity ahead of them that pushed the creation of the big band.
“Joseph and I were very familiar with this High School band competition called Essentially Ellington run at Jazz at Lincoln Center by Wynton Marsalis” exclaims Dylan Band, “and we thought it would be a really cool opportunity if we can go out to New York and compete in this festival. So we said you know what, that’s it. We’re getting a big band together, we’re gonna do it.”
Although they did not end up making in, missing the big shot by only two points, the band still pushes on strong. With practices weekly practice, the big band performs at venues such as The Clef Club of Jazz and Performing Arts, and the Community Unity Music Festival. But the swingin’ does not stop there.
“I think the hopes is to just play as much as we can, both at the Clef Club and anywhere else in the city,” said Joseph.
“I think it’s gonna turn out well,” states Temple student and trumpet player John Meko. “I hope we keep attracting young talent from throughout the Philadelphia area because that’s the only way the band is going to keep getting strong.”
And strong is just a light word that describes how great and professional the band sounds all together.
“Every time we play it’s just better and better,” stated Temple student and saxophone player Simon Crosby-Arreaza, “So hopefully, you know we’re playing at Chris’ Monday the 17th, hopefully we can start playing more places.”
The band held their first performance of the school year on Monday, October 17, at Chris’ Jazz Cafe on Sansom Street. There, family members, Philadelphia residents, and other Temple students got to come out and hear the sweet sounds of jazz played by The Philadelphia Ambassadors Big Band.
To find out more info on the band, you can check out their Facebook page.