Big Beat

BIG BEAT is a big band of 19 musicians. It was founded in 2014 with one goal: to create music that feels good and sounds great. Charlie Dougherty was the bassist, Phil Engsberg as saxophonist, Caleb Rumley as trombonist, and Ryan Tomski as pianist. After receiving their Master’s Degrees of Jazz Arranging at William Paterson University, they wanted to arrange and write music for big bands. They wanted music that was rooted in modern jazz traditions without being restricted by a particular genre. They began to collect musicians and wrote music for the project in the summer of 2014. Allison McKenzie, a Canadian-born singer, was invited to join the group shortly after they formed it. Her original compositions became an integral part of the band’s repertoire. She also has a powerful, but lyrical voice which seamlessly bridges jazz and pop music. The group includes 5 saxophones (4 trombones), 4 trumpets (4 trumpets), guitar, piano, bass drums, vocals, and a conductor. The group started performing at NYC/NJ venues such as Hat City Kitchen, Langosta Lounge, Langosta Lounge, Seton Hall University, and Langosta Lounge. The group has been invited back every year to perform at William Paterson University’s Summer Jazz Series with artists like Vanessa Rubin, Karryn Allison, and Peter Bernstein since 2014. BIG BEAT released their EP Big Beat EP in January 2015. The EP contains seven songs and was recorded by Cecil Bridgewater, a trumpeter and arranger. The jazz legend Cecil Bridgewater is a mentor for the band. He said that the EP was “delightfully delicious” and that it is like eating a familiar meal but with exotic flavors. EP 1.

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