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Blue Wisp Big Band

Founded in January, 1980 by drummer John Von Ohlen and trumpeter Don Johnson, the Blue Wisp Big Band got its start in and its name from the late Blue Wisp Jazz Club. Von Ohlen, a native of Indianapolis, moved to the Cincinnati area after many years on the road playing with world class jazz orchestras, most notably those of Stan Kenton and Woody Herman.

After hearing all of the fine musicians in the area, he felt there was a need to form a group because most of them “weren’t playing any jazz, which is the reason they started playing in the first place.” He felt the desire to start a “world-class big band and wanted to put it in a tavern, a beer joint.”

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