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SK2 Jazz Orchestra – Music of Stan Kenton

 Premier Lounge, 40 Corporation Road, Audenshaw, Manchester, M34 5LP

SK2 Jazz Orchestra
Keeping the music of Stan Kenton alive

The SK2 Jazz Orchestra is a full-on, powerful, highly energized, exciting big band featuring the crème de la crème of professional musicians from across the north of England. SK2 are dedicated to the sole recreation of the vast spectrum of timeless, classic, ageless charts which were performed by the late, great Stan Kenton and his powerhouse orchestra.

Shades of Kenton Jazz Orchestra was founded back in 1983 by local Stockport bandleader Ernie Eyes. Ernie was totally focused on keeping the memory and music of Stan Kenton alive and quickly built a strong reputation gaining the interest of many Kenton aficionados both in the UK and North America. The band soon started to attract and play host to many of Stan Kenton’s ex side-men.

The first ever international Stan Kenton Convention was hosted by the band in 1987. Over 300 enthusiasts attended from around the world along with alumni who performed with the band, players such as Richard Torres, Shorty Rogers, Bud Shank, Bill Perkins, Charlie Mariano, Bob Burgess, Jiggs Whigham, and John Worster.

Throughout the ’80s the band continued to perform at large venues such as the Barbican in London, the Forum Theatre in Hatfield, Brecon Jazz Festival and Llangollen Jazz Festival. In 1988 the band also recorded a live album at the Queen’s Hall, Edinburgh with ex-Kenton guest soloists Lee Konitz, Jiggs Whigham, and Rolf Ericson. Guest conductor was Vic Lewis.

Throughout the ’90s Shades of Kenton continued to attract world-class jazz players to perform with the band, players such as Bobby Shew, Don Lusher, Tommy Whittle, Barbara Jay, Don Rendell, Henry Lowther, Kathy Stobbart, Vic Ash and Eric Delaney. The band also had continued success well into the new millennium with notable performances at Imatra Jazz Festival in Finland, Cork Jazz Festival, Grimsby Jazz Festival, the Fairfield Hall at Croydon and Edinburgh Jazz Festival.

The band continued to remain an active part of the UK jazz scene until the death of band leader Ivor Deech in 2011. It was the wish of his widow that long-serving drummer Dave Tyas take responsibility for the music library and to keep the band alive.

The SK2 Jazz Orchestra (Shades of Kenton 2) was reborn in August 2013. Under new leader Dave Tyas, the band quickly attracted the best of the best from across the North of England and immediately started rehearsing. The result was the rebirth of a high decibel powerhouse big band, probably one of the best in the UK, the best iteration yet, a band dedicated to authentically recreating the amazing music and sounds of the late, great Stan Kenton and his amazing orchestra.

SK2 have already gone on to perform at Southport Jazz Club (a collaboration with Bobby Lamb with an additional horn section), North Wales Jazz Club, Wigan Jazz Club, various theatres around the country, Scarborough Jazz festival and also Marsden Jazz Festival featuring Simon Gardner. The band also performed at Wigan Jazz Festival in 2016 to great acclaim from the many Kenton fans who were there.

SK2 Jazz Orchestra remain on a modern-day mission to perform at the highest level and to keep Kenton’s music alive. This is great music that still needs to be heard today, not just by aficionados, but also by young up and coming musicians. The music of Stan Kenton remains incredibly fresh, shockingly new and very exciting, especially when seen, heard and performed to a world class standard by the powerhouse SK2 Jazz Orchestra.

SK2 Jazz Orchestra – come and see us, you will not be disappointed, you’ll be totally blown away.


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