The Junius Courtney Big Band is a Bay Area tradition founded in 1962 by the eponymous leader of the band, Junius Courtney. Junius, a Trumpet player, arrived from New Orleans in the 1940s and immediately became part of the Bay Area music scene. The band is now led by his son, drummer Nat Courtney.
The JCBB is composed of 19 musicians who are all experienced and talented performers. The band’s tight horn ensemble and intensely swinging rhythm section make the band both a delight for dancing and a great listening experience of fine Jazz.
The repertoire is made up of classics from band leaders such as Duke Ellington and Count Basie, in addition to the arrangements of house arrangers, Jerry Cournoyer, Frank Fisher and other band members. We also have a substantial number of Latin Big Band songs in addition to our Swing, Blues and Bebop material. I have even contributed several arrangements.
As Lead Alto sax, I have the honor of playing on several Johnny Hodges feature tunes including, Passion Flower, Isfahan, Sophisticated Lady and Warm Valley.
Bay Area Jazz writer Andy Gilbert has described the JCBB, “With a treasure trove of vivid, well-crafted arrangements and a veteran cast of players who know how to tell a rousing story in eight bars, the Junius Courtney Big Band is an invaluable Bay Area institution. Most importantly, the band swings with power and concision, delivering its zesty charts with a confident swagger… it’s an act capable of cutting far better known orchestras. Look out!”
The Junius Courtney Big Band is available for bookings for corporate events, Swing dance events, Jazz festivals and concerts.