Going Big: Stillwater Jazz Band renames itself |


The Stillwater community jazz group is now known as the Stillwater Big Band, a name that manager Kent Taylor says more accurately describes their musical style. Returning after the COVID-imposed hiatus seemed like the right time to make the switch, he said.

Taylor and the rest of the band hope this gets people to watch the free community concerts, which feature top-notch musicians.

“People are afraid of jazz,” he said.

But someone who expects to find extended freeform solos from every member of the ensemble won’t find it at a Stillwater Big Band concert.

Big Band is a style of music associated with conductors like Duke Ellington, Benny Goodman, and Glenn Miller. It was born out of jazz ensembles during the swing era, adding instruments and vocalists to create a sound large enough to fill the largest spaces in dance halls, Taylor explained.

The format allows flexibility to cover jazz standards, swing music, ballads, jazzy arrangements of live tunes, and even Beatles’ Daytripper rock songs.

“It’s designed to be accessible and fun for everyone,” Taylor said. “I learned a long time ago that I had to program songs for the guy whose wife dragged him to the show.”

The Stillwater Big Band will perform at 7 p.m. Tuesday at the Stillwater Community Center. Free entry.

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Henry R. Wright