Outliving some of the best jazz venues in New York, including Birdland and The Five Spot, the infamous Village Vanguard at Broadway and 55th is still swinging after 70 years. The venue has hosted some of the biggest names in jazz, from Thelonious Monk to Miles Davis and Bill Evans.
Now its namesake band, the Vanguard Jazz Orchestra, which includes three members on the jazz faculty at the Boyer College of Music and Dance, has won a Grammy Award for Monday Night Live At The Village Vanguard [Planet Arts Recordings] in the “Best Large Jazz Ensemble Album” category. The Vanguard Jazz Orchestra is the current title for a band that began life as the Thad Jones-Mel Lewis Orchestra in 1966 and has performed continuously ever since.
Boyer jazz faculty members Terell Stafford (trumpet/director of jazz studies), Dick Oatts (saxophone/flute) and Luis Bonilla (trombone) perform each week in New York with the Vanguard Orchestra.
“Not only is it an honor to play each week at this historical venue,” said Stafford, “but to perform with my Boyer colleagues and some of the top jazz musicians in the world, makes it even more special. Everyone in the Orchestra owes homage to Thad Jones and Mel Lewis, who started it all more than four decades ago.”
The Orchestra has received four previous Grammy nominations and won one previous award for The Way, Music of Slide Hampton in 2005.