Maria Schneider. Photo by Whit Lane ©
There is nothing in jazz like the sound of a big band in full flight. It’s not just the sheer power of a large ensemble, but the palette of colors and rhythmic possibilities it brings to the music, and the variety of settings it opens to improvisers. Few have expanded and updated the sound of a big band over the past several decades like composer and arranger Maria Schneider.
In her work, the lines between musical genres often blur, and she has proven as adept at writing music for The Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra and the adventurous Dutch Metropole Orchestra, as with her Jazz Orchestra. In 2014, underscoring the point, Schneider surprised a few jazz and rock fans collaborating with the late David Bowie on the single “Sue (Or In A Season of Crime).” It earned her a Grammy Award for “Best Arrangement, Instruments and Vocal,” one of five she has won for work in both jazz and classical music.