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A big band swings in: The Albuquerque Jazz Orchestra plays sounds of long ago, as well as contemporary

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Glenn Kostur, standing, and the Albuquerque Jazz Orchestra perform Tuesday at The Cooperage.

Glenn Kostur, standing, and the Albuquerque Jazz Orchestra perform Tuesday at The Cooperage.

Big band music is back in town this winter.

The 18-member Albuquerque Jazz Orchestra will be playing at The Cooperage on Tuesday, Jan. 7.

“For a long time we’ve been looking for a place where we can perform on a regular basis and that gives us a chance to kind of stretch out and play in a slightly more relaxed environment than in a more formal concert setting,” said AJO music director Glenn Kostur.

The band will play selections from the repertoire of the big bands of Count Basie, Buddy Rich and Thad Jones, as well as arrangements of more contemporary music, Kostur said.

“In a lot of ways, this is more in line with the tradition of rehearsal big bands … meaning we’re not a working, professional dance band. But essentially, we’re musicians who want to get together and play tunes we’re familiar with or can sight-read at the gig,” he said.

“And this gives a chance for big band fans to come out and hear some music,” he added.

Among the band members who will be featured are: tenor saxophonist Lee Taylor, pianist Jim Ahrend and trombonist Chris Buckholz.

In big cities all over the country there are these kinds of rehearsal big bands that perform monthly or weekly, said Kostur, who plays alto sax in the AJO.

Kostur also is the director of the University of New Mexico’s Jazz Studies Program.

Tuesday’s event is the first of three monthly dates for the AJO at the restaurant-bar. The next two are set for Feb. 4 and March 4.

“We’re going to try it for a few months and then let the folks at The Cooperage re-assess,” Kostur said.

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