Asheville Jazz Orchestra comes home for the holidays

Special To The Black Mountain News

The White Horse Black Mountain may not be the literal home of the Asheville Jazz Orchestra, but it’s most certainly a familiar monthly stopover.

On Saturday, Dec. 8, at 8 p.m., the big band will present a special show that draws on a rich seasonal repertoire of original compositions and arrangements. 

The Asheville Jazz Orchestra will be home for the holidays in a Dec. 8 performance at the White Horse.

There’s certainly plenty of material to choose from. Musical giants Duke Ellington, Stan Kenton and others have made notable contributions to the winter holiday repertoire with their arrangements for big band, and virtually every jazz singer of note has put their stamp on Christmas favorites. 

Founded in 2006, The Asheville Jazz Orchestra has evolved into Western North Carolina’s hardest swinging band. Under the direction of trombonist/composer Dave Wilken, their mission is to preserve and advance America’s big band jazz tradition.

They play music from the canon of Swing Era greats like Duke Ellington, Count Basie and Benny Goodman but also make forays into more progressive works by Stan Kenton, Thad Jones and Gordon Goodwin.

The AJO also make a point of expanding the swing repertoire by programming freshly written pieces, many by local composers. The players in the AJO come from the ranks of the best jazz artists in the area, some of whom have spent time in latter-day incarnations of legendary big bands.

If you go

Where: White Horse Black Mountain

When: Saturday, Dec. 8, 8 p.m.

Tickets: Available at whitehorseblackmountain.com for $15