|Milwaukee Jazz Orchestra|
"…well played...very good hard-bop-oriented performer...Curt Hanrahan plays flexible, dark-toned tenor.”
- Jazz Times
"...Hanrahan’ blowing urgent tenor, is grounded in hard bop.”
"...a crew of Milwaukee jazzbos through a delightfully mixed big band program, they hit it right out of the box with a swinging, commercial energy that's inclusive and invites everyone into the tent---particularly if they want to hear some killer blowing, all home grown and away from the beaten path. High octane, high energy and a high old grand time. Well done."
The Milwaukee Jazz Orchestra, led by saxophonist and educator Curt Hanrahan is an A-list roster of Milwaukee musicians who not only swing their behinds off, they have something original to say by way of performances with a perfect balance of classic and contemporary standards and originals that are swinging, soulful, traditional and cutting-edge.
Curt Hanrahan is the head of jazz studies at the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee. He co-founded the Lakeshore Conservatory of Music in Racine Wisconsin, performs with the Milwaukee Symphony. He has worked with artists Tony Bennett, Rosemary Clooney, Cab Calloway, the Jimmy Dorsey Orchestra, Harry Connick Jr., Arturo Sandoval Big Band, Manhattan Transfer, Tommy Dorsey Orchestra, Doc Severinsen, Frank Sinatra Jr. and Ray Charles.
The MJO was born out of Hanrahan's involvement with the annual Woody Herman Jazz Festival about 5 years ago assembling alumni to guest at the festival every year and began putting a local big band together to perform with the soloists. After doing this for a few years hr began to have composers and arrangers write new music for this band and actively seek performance opportunities outside of the Herman festival.
Around this time, Curt's son Tim, a bassist, graduated from school with a Jazz studies degree and along with Curt's brother Warren on drums ]wanted to put a family band together. This became the catalyst to record new and old music using some of the finest jazz musicians in the Milwaukee area and together these musicians along with the Hanrahan family became the core of the Milwaukee Jazz Orchestra. The benevolence of Woody Herman as the leader of a Big Band for over 50 years and the historical importance of the jazz produced from this great Orchestra is the mission of The Milwaukee Jazz Orchestra
Drummer Warren Hanrahan graduated from legendary North Texas State Univ. and performed with the renowned 1O’clock Lab Band under Neil Slater. He then moved on to tenures with The Glenn Miller Orchestra and the S.S Norway Big Band. He has performed with Tony Bennett, Paul Anka, Billy Joel, Clark Terry, Keely Smith, John Davidson, Vanessa Williams: and in the Broadway shows Chicago, Godspell, West Side Story and Ain't Misbehavin’: R&B legends: The Drifters, The Duprees, The Shirelles, and TV legends: Milton Berle, Danny Thomas, Sid Caesar, and Skitch Henderson.
Released in 2017 on the Chicago based Blujazz label, Welcome to Swingsville! is The Milwaukee Jazz Orchestra's debut CD featuring seven live and unrehearsed standards and originals by Duke Ellington, Charlie Parker and Gil Evans to name a few. Saxophonist Curt Hanarahan contributes two originals, "IMP" and "Seatlle" and guitarist Steve Lewandowski brings to the project his original "Jocko".