The John Burnett Orchestra specializes in '40s-style big band swing - keeping alive the sounds of Glenn Miller, Tommy Dorsey, Benny Goodman, Count Basie and others. Each musician is highly professional and most have played with many of the top American big bands such as the Miller, Herman and Buddy Rich Bands. In addition to swing music the orchestra performs current big band jazz charts and many vocal ballads such as those of Frank Sinatra, Joe Williams, Ella Fitzgerald and Sarah Vaughn.
The orchestra is directed by John Burnett; morning host of 90.9fm WDCB - Public Radio From College of DuPage - Chicago's leading jazz radio station. John hails from England and attended the Royal Academy of Music. The orchestra consists of five saxes, four trumpets, four trombones, piano, bass, drums and at least one vocalist. It is rapidly establishing the reputation of being one of the best bands in Chicago; grabbing the attention of both old and young alike.
To date, the John Burnett orchestra has released two CDs. The first, Swingin' in the Windy City, was released in November 2000 on the now defunct Lakesore Jazz from Chicago, and featured legendary clarinetist Buddy DeFranco. The second CD, West of State Street/East of Harlem with special guest trumpeter Randy Sandke, was recorded live at Fitzgerald's in Berwyn, and was recently released in October 2008 on Chicago's Delmark Records. More details on both of the CDs can be found on the CD Page
Vocalist Frieda Lee has toured with the late great Joe Williams and Kevin Mahogany, to name but a few.
Typical venues where the orchestra has appeared include jazz festivals, The Jazz Showcase in Chicago, The Green Dolphin Jazz Club in Chicago, Fitzgerald's Night Club in Berwyn, the famous Willowbrook Ballroom in the western suburbs, the Black Orchid Supper Club in Chicago's Pipers Alley, and major hotels such as Chicago's world-renown Drake Hotel.