The Vanguard Jazz Orchestra is celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2016.

We are taking this special occasion as a unique opportunity to bring special projects to our fans throughout the year.

Our celebration starts from February 1 through 8, when the band is playing a full week at the Village Vanguard. In summer, we will be visiting Europe and in October, we are continuing our annual tour in Japan. Further projects include Canada, Asia, Australia and China.

Do you want to be the next venue we visit with our music and masterclasses? Simply contact us at 
so that we can explore the possibilities.

Vanguard Jazz Orchestra
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The Vanguard Jazz Orchestra is ...

The NYC 16-piece jazz orchestra founded in 1966 by Thad Jones and Mel Lewis.

In front of the iconic red roof of the Village Vanguard our Monday night home.
  • Founded as Thad Jones/Mel Lewis and The Jazz Orchestra
Thad Jones, who was featured in the Count Basie Orchestra, and Los Angeles based drummer Mel Lewis from the Stan Kenton Orchestra, started the band in 1966 with some of the top studio musicians in New York City.
The beautiful melodies and unique arrangements of Thad Jones enchanted audiences worldwide. The mixture of the music from diverse backgrounds created their innovative sound and the band was quickly recognized as a world-class big band.
  • Mel Lewis and The Jazz Orchestra
In 1978, Thad Jones moved to Denmark but the band continued as Mel Lewis and The Jazz Orchestra. In addition to the masterpieces by Thad, they actively employed new and original compositions and arrangements by Bob Brookmeyer, Jim McNeely and others. Those new arrangements were complex and avant-garde, but they stayed true to their fundamental band sound and swing. Their excellent artistry sustained and grew their high reputation. 
  • Vanguard Jazz Orchestra
By changing its name to the Vanguard Jazz Orchestra, the orchestra created its own identity after losing both of its leaders. The ensemble cultivated its rich history while commissioning new music that made them the prototype of innovative big band music. 2016 marks 50 years of continued performances of Monday Night Live at the world’s premiere jazz club, The Village Vanguard.
  • Education 
"Precepts of Swing" is the educational program developed by the Vanguard Jazz Orchestra.  See the "Education" page for detailed information.


We are playing at The Village Vanguard every Monday. 8:30pm and 10:30pm.
For tickets, please visit The Village Vanguard's website.
The Village Vanguard

What's New

2016 Feb … VJO celebrates 50 years at the Vanguard! (8days Feb1 - Feb8)  

We are very happy to announce that 2016 is “50th” anniversary. We, the Vanguard Jazz Orchestra - established by Thad Jones and Mel Lewis, will perform the compositions of Thad Jones, Bob Brookmeyer, Jim McNeely and others from our library of over 300 tunes! 

Come and join the celebration!

Feb 1, 2016 (mon) to Feb 8, 2016 (mon) ...8 days
Sets 8:30pm and 10:30pm 

at Village Vanguard
178 7th Avenue South, New York, NY, USA

For reservations:
call : (212) 255-4037
online :

Japanese version of OverTime will be available in Oct  

To our Japanese friend,日本のみなさまへ:
嬉しいニュースです。新作「OverTime / Music of Bob Brookmeyer」の日本版発売日が決まりました。10月15日、ポニーキャニオンさんからのリリースです。前回に引き続き今回も、美しいCDジャケットは日本人の星野哲也さん(デザイナー)と坂本奈緒さん(イラストレーター)によるもので、副プロデューサー&クリエイティブ・ディレクターは宮嶋みぎわさんです。日本語向けスペシャルページを作りましたのでどうぞお訪ねいただき、ミュージック・クリップやインタビュー動画をお楽しみください!
We are so happy to announce that the Japanese version of OverTime will be available in Oct of this year! Here is the special page for Japanese version! 

Release date News! 

The Vanguard Jazz Orchestra OverTime  Music Of Bob Brookmeyer
Release date News!

Digital Release is now scheduled for August 1st!
CDs available on August 15!

*News about our Japanese/Asian release coming soon.

Thank you for your enthusiastic support.
The Band

We are coming back to Japan! 日本ツアー決定!クリニックは大阪・東京2会場で実施 

To our Japanese friends,
We are coming back to Japan!  We will perform at Billboard Live Tokyo and Osaka, we also will have workshops in Tokyo AND Osaka, this year. Please come and see us! Click and see the further information below. 

東京公演 (10/30-11/1)
大阪公演 (11/3)

Recording session for our new CD "OverTime - Music of Bob Brookmeyer" 

We had a recording session on June 11 and 12 for the upcoming CD "OverTime - Music of Bob Brookmeyer". Wow! What a great recording session done by these wonderful musicians that you see and few others! We are so happy to finally document Bob Brookmeyer's great music! We'll post updates here on this our official website and on our official FB page (like us!). Stay tuned! 

*For other pics, visit our official FB page

From your left to right ... Jim McNeely, John Riley, Terell Stafford, Billy Drewes, Tom Bellino, David Wong, Gary Smulyan, Rich Perry, Douglas Purviance, Ryan Truesdell, Ralph Lalama, John Mosca, Tanya Darby, Jay Messina, Mike Truesdell, Scott Wendholt, Migiwa Miyajima, Nick Marchione, Jason Jackson, Luis Bonilla ... Oh, we miss Dick Oatts in this picture and also Frank Basile, David Peel and Yasu Arai, our official translator in Japan joined the session!


  • Forever Lasting -Live in Tokyo- 2012 GRAMMY nominee
  • Monday Night Live At The Village Vanguard 2009 GRAMMY winner
  • Up From The Skies, Music of Jim McNeely 2006  TWO GRAMMY nominations
  • The Way, Music of Slide Hampton - 2005 GRAMMY winner
  • Can I Persuade You - 2003 GRAMMY nominee
  • Thad Jones Legacy - 2001 AFIM winner
  • Lickety Split, Music of Jim McNeely - 1999 GRAMMY nominee
  • To You - Tribute to Mel Lewis
For detailed info, please visit "music" page.

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