With sold out concerts and standing ovations the Latvian Radio Big Band has been welcomed in two of the most prestigious concert halls in the United States this year – The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington D.C. and Jazz at Lincoln Center in NYC.
Every performance of the band is a magnetizing exchange of energy between musicians and the audience. The band unites highly talented and professional jazz musicians making it the most creative team in the field of Latvian jazz music with national and worldwide recognition. The band has been nominated twice for the Grand Music Award – the highest form of state recognition in the field of music in Latvia.
Recent performances have brought fascinating and inspiring experience through a brilliant collaboration with international artists such as Kurt Elling, Randy Brecker, Richard Bona, Roberta Gambarini, Jojo Mayer, Jiggs Whigham, Michael Pipoquinha, James Morrison and many others.
The Latvian Radio Big Band has played a significant role in the history of jazz in Latvia. The big band’s legacy to Latvian culture is priceless – currently, the sound library of “Latvian Radio” holds over 9,000 recordings featuring the band. The creative driving force behind the orchestra is musician, producer and the artistic director Māris Briežkalns; the big band’s musical director is Kārlis Vanags.
The big band was first founded in 1966 under the name “The Orchestra of TV and Radio of the Latvian SSR”. Later it was renamed “The Variety Orchestra of the Latvian TV and Radio”; the first bandleader was Ringolds Ore. Henceforward, such Latvian jazz legends as Alnis Zakis, Gunars Rozenbergs and Maestro Raimonds Pauls have taken the lead in the orchestra.