“The best jazz swing big band in Perth”
“You guys hit it out of the park last night”
  • Spectacle at the Ellington!

    The next public performance of the Hills Big Band will be at the Ellington Jazz Club, 191 Beaufort Street, Perth.

    Under the Musical Directorship of Kieran Hurley (Straight Ahead Big Band/Manteca/PJS), the Hills Big Band performs the music of the Big Band era and beyond.

    Let them take you on a spectacular journey through the music of Sammy Nestico, Nelson Riddle, Quincy Jones, Count Basie, Duke Ellington, Sergio Mendez, Maynard Ferguson and many, many more. This twenty-piece Big Band – complete with male and female vocalists - is truly a sound to behold.

    Join the Hills Big Band as they show that water isn't the only great thing to come out of the East of our fair city!

    The show starts at 7pm, doors open at 6:30pm.

    For tickets, please go to the Ellington Jazz Club website - http://www.ellingtonjazz.com.au/event/the-hills-big-band/

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  • Jazz at GGS

    Guildford Grammar School hosted a wonderful evening of jazz on Friday 19 June, as part of Music Week 2015.

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  • Jazz Music Evening!

    On Friday 19 June, the Hills Big Band will be performing at Guildford Grammar School as part of the School's Music Week 2015.  This three-day event offers a variety of music styles, and is free to the School community.

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  • Jazzamunda success!

    Picture this: a beautiful Sunday afternoon in Kalamunda (aren't they all?)

    The date is 8 March 2015. Stirk Park is a gorgeous place to be.

    The weather is warm, a gathering of people are picking out cooler spots on the grass in the shade.

    Some people have brought deckchairs to sit on, others blankets, some with coffee and cake.

    The Hills Big Band sets up in the soundshell, and kicks off with some laid-back jazz.

    The band laze through some favourites.  

    Satin Doll

    Makin' Whoopee

    Fever

    Some lazy Sunday afternoon balladeering with vocalist Mel Whisson; Over The Rainbow

    Here's That Rainy Day

    Musical Director Kieran Hurley

    Rob Anderson's trumpet solo

    Deputies for the day were Pete Evans (drums), with

    Simon Styles standing in on lead alto sax (left), and Arthur Robinson on second alto (right).  And, as usual, there was a "note fight"!

    Photos courtesy of Ewa GinaƂ-Cumblidge

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  • What is a Big Band?

    The Hills Big Band uses a band format that has been around for a century.

    The format of a standard Big Band is a rhythm section (piano, bass, drums and guitar) with brass and woodwind instruments (four trumpets, four trombones and five saxophones). The addition of one or two vocalists allows a Big Band to include vocal repertoire. The format sometimes includes orchestral instruments such as flute, clarinet, french horn or even a small string ensemble, and is also known as a "Jazz Orchestra".

    Big Bands first came into prominence playing dance music in 1920s in USA, and their popularity soared during the "Swing Era" of the late 1930s and early 1940s. They were perfect for the burgeoning dance craze that swept the nation and spread to Europe with the help of LP recordings and radio. Big Bands moved into Hollywood to supply music for the motion picture industry, and movies were even made about Big Bands.

    Although it seems that the Big Band might have had its day with the end of World War 2, the format is far from extinct! Schools and universities use the Big Band format to teach music performance and arranging to students. Big Band music features prominently in many TV shows. Movies have buoyed the popularity of old recordings of well-known artists, as well as introducing new music, keeping the format and its associated musical genres popular and relevant.

    You can find more about famous Big Bands and the musicians that played in them on Wikipedia - "Big Band".

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  • A big hit at The Ellington

    Thankyou to the wonderfully supportive group of people who came to the most recent concert, and the last one for 2014, at The Ellington Jazz Club on the evening of Tuesday December 2. 

     

    As promised, the Hills Big Band filled up the stage with armfuls of different instruments, and presented two sets of "real" big band music. Some hits of the evening were "Night and Day", "Come Fly With Me" and "Alright Ok You Win" featuring vocalists Lenny Twigg and Mel Whisson.  The repertoire for the evening covered latin, swing, pop, blues and even the funky number "Only So Much Oil In The Ground" by Tower of Power. 

    Steve Martin played a pure and innocent solo trombone, escaping the clutches of the salacious saxophones in "A Country Boy", and Jes Grey featured on tenor saxophone; "In a Sentimental Mood".

     

    The audience and band were amused by Musical Director Kieran Hurley's fondness for all things Bond (but perhaps only up to and including Sean Connery's last film as the legendary secret agent). We were treated to a brief introduction to the various instruments in the band, courtesy of Kieran, with particular reference to the trombone. Kieran let us in on the big secret of where the trombone sits amongst all other instruments, due to its grace and intelligence and despite its resemblance to garden irrigation equipment. Who would have thought? 

     

    The performance was also a celebratory last concert for Arthur Robinson, as he leaves the Hills Big Band to concentrate on many other creative endeavours. But we reckon he'll be back!

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  • Jazzing in Fremantle

    The Hills Big Band played on Sunday evening, 23 November 2014, at the Jazz Fremantle headquarters (64 High Street) to an enthusiastic audience. 

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