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ABOUT THE CCJO

MISSION
TO CREATE EXPERIENCES THAT ADVANCE JAZZ AS A LIVING ART FORM


VISION
TO BE THE REGION'S LEADING AMBASSADOR FOR JAZZ

The Cincinnati Contemporary Jazz Orchestra (CCJO) is a 17-member ensemble dedicated to performing, preserving, and teaching Jazz as a living art form. Founded by University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music professor Scott Belck and arts administrator LeAnne Anklan in 2013, the orchestra is comprised of some of the preeminent jazz artists and educators in the Greater Cincinnati area. 

As an ensemble, CCJO focuses on featuring the works of contemporary composers and contributing to the jazz legacy by producing and performing its own original material while still maintaining a firm footing in the grand tradition of big band jazz. ​The Orchestra’s mission is to create experiences that advance jazz as a living art form with a vision to be the region’s leading ambassador for jazz. We are committed to bringing the beauty and elegance of Jazz to students and audiences alike. We aim make jazz accessible and approachable for listeners of all backgrounds which means that the group's programming is often drawn from artists ranging from Duke Ellington and Charles Mingus all the way to Prince, Radiohead and David Bowie. The CCJO also values collaboration and has reached across musical boundaries to welcome musicians of diverse perspectives and musical persuasions to share their stage. 

 

In addition to performing alongside many of the world's brightest jazz stars, the band has partnered with everyone from Latin percussionists to classical string orchestras to full gospel choirs. The Orchestra has performed with several Grammy-winning and -nominated performers including composer Maria Schneider, trumpeter Lew Soloff, trombonist Conrad Herwig, trumpeter Arturo Sandoval, saxophonist Lauren Sevian and trumpeter Wayne Bergeron, as well as NEA Jazz Master Saxophonist Jimmy Heath, and Rolling Stones musicians Tim Ries and Bernard Fowler. CCJO partnerships include Jazz at Lincoln Center, Xavier University Music Series, Memorial Hall Signature Series, Cincinnati Youth Choir, Dillsboro Jazz Festival, OTR Performs in Washington Park and the Cincinnati Chamber Orchestra. In the summer of 2023, the ensemble presented a free series at Fountain Square, A Tribute to the Jazz Masters, sponsored by Jamey Aebersold.

 

The artists that comprise the CCJO have performed, toured and/or recorded with many of the top names in the jazz and commercial music industry including Ray Charles, the Woody Herman Orchestra, Manhattan Transfer, Wynton Marsalis, Michael Feinstein, Fred Hersch, Conrad Herwig, the Temptations, Tony Bennett, the Jimmy Dorsey Orchestra, Bootsy Collins, Clark Terry, the Tommy Dorsey Orchestra, the Glenn Miller Orchestra and many many more. As educators, nearly all of the ensemble members serve on the music faculties of prominent university music schools, including the College-Conservatory of Music at the University of Cincinnati, Miami University, Northern Kentucky University, Xavier University and the University of Dayton. Eric Lechliter is the artistic director for the CCJO, appointed in 2019. Dr. Scott Belck and Rob Parton serve as ensemble artistic director emeriti.

 

The CCJO's Jazz@First series features thematic and exciting chamber jazz in an intimate setting at the First Unitarian Church. CCJO chairman and pianist Phil DeGreg leads the popular series which primarily features the Phil DeGreg Trio alongside jazz greats from Cincinnati and around the world.

 

In addition to maintaining its performance schedule, the CCJO has a similarly strong commitment to Jazz and cultural education. Through its two main educational programs - Collaborative Honing of Performance Skills (CHOPS) and "Let Freedom Swing," the organization provides no-cost guest clinicians for local Jazz programs as well as educational presentations for school districts throughout the Greater Cincinnati area. These programs seek to inspire and provide opportunities for the next generation of Jazz musicians and listeners. 

 

CCJO’s Let Freedom Swing! (LFS!) program provides FREE interactive, live Jazz music presentations to schools in the Greater Cincinnati area. This renowned Jazz at Lincoln Center educational program was created by Wynton Marsalis and Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor to teach democracy through Jazz and create conversations about the parallels between these two great American traditions. Specific topics include: (1) Let Freedom Swing! (an overview focusing on Jazz and Democracy); (2) Jazz and Civil Rights; (3) Jazz and the Harlem Renaissance; and (4) Jazz and Communication (designed by CCJO educators). Additionally, LFS! satisfies national standards, as well as Ohio Department of Education K-12 Social Studies standards, including American History: Historical Thinking and Skills. 

 

Our newest education program, CHOPS (Collaborative Honing of Performance Skills), was created in 2018 by the CCJO in an effort to encourage young musicians to improve their skills and to perform alongside our professional ensemble. The CCJO invites local high school and collegiate jazz bands throughout the community to open for CCJO's big band series at The Redmoor. This allows young jazz musicians to gain first-hand professional performance experience as well as to receive masterclasses by our CCJO musicians at no cost. These sessions have been received enthusiastically by students and their directors.

The CCJO is the proud winner of the 2016 CityBeat Cincinnati Entertainment Award for Best Jazz Ensemble. CCJO events have also been nominated in several categories for the Movers & Makers Reader's Choice Awards.

The CCJO is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization.

CCJO Diversity Statement

The CCJO exists to serve the Cincinnati community through the music we perform and present. We pledge to create and maintain a welcoming environment for our leadership, volunteers, musicians, audiences and those with whom we partner, that respects diverse background and experiences by committing ourselves to equal employment and volunteer opportunity without regard or preference to age, race, national origin, ethnicity, disability, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, political affiliation, marital status, religious belief, or military status.

ARTISTIC DIRECTOR

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ERIC LECHLITER

Artistic Director

Eric Lechliter is a professional musician, arranger and educator based in the Cincinnati area. An active trumpet player, he plays frequently with several local bands including The Cincy Brass, The Flying Circus Big Band, Craig Bailey's Ohio Jazz Players, The Blue Wisp Big Band, The Society Jazz Orchestra, Pat Kelly's PsychoAcoustic Orchestra and the Cincinnati Contemporary Jazz Orchestra and has shared the stage with international recordings artists including John Fedchock, Chris Vadala, Greg Gisbert, Terell Stafford, Byron Stripling, Bobby Broom, Barry Ries, Alex Norris and many more. As an arranger/composer, his music has been performed by the Dayton Jazz Orchestra, The CCM Jazz Lab band, The Cincinnati Youth Jazz Orchestra, the CCJO, and The Original Farm League Big Band (which he founded in 2016). Since graduating from the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, he has maintained a busy schedule as a Jazz clinician and private teacher. He has also served as a faculty member for Miami Valley Jazz Camp starting in 2013, and currently directs the Xavier University Jazz Orchestra as an adjunct professor of music. 

BOARD OF DIRECTORS

IN ALPHABETICAL ORDER

LEANNE ANKLAN
Secretary
TOM BOECHER
Director
NANCY CROSSEN
Director
PHIL DEGREG
Chairman, Piano

JOHN LIEBERMAN
Treasurer
DOUG LILLIBRIDGE
President
ED LYON​
Director
SAM MOORE
Director
JEFF NEU
Director

MIKE PERRINO
Director
BARRY SCHWARTZ

Director
MONTY TAYLOR

Director
SANDY UHRIG
Director

JOE VALLO
Director

JANE WELLING
Vice President
VINCE WESELI​
Director
JEFF BLANKENSHIP
Legal Counsel

SOLOISTS + PARTNERS

LewSoloffConstella-2012

Lew Soloff, trumpet

JonFaddis-2013

Jon Faddis, trumpet

ByronStripling-2013-2

Byron Stripling, trumpet

BobbyShew-2013

Bobby Shew, trumpet

VinceDiMartino-2013

Vince DiMartino, trumpet

JimmyHeath-2013

NEA Jazz Master Jimmy Heath, tenor saxophone

CincinnatiChamberOrchestra-2014

Cincinnati Chamber Orchestra

SteveLippia-2014

Steve Lippia, vocals

RickVanMatre-2014

Rick VanMatre, saxophone

DaveStryker-2014

Dave Stryker, guitar

ToddStoll-2015

Todd Stoll, conductor and educator

KathyWade-2015

Kathy Wade, vocals

JohnFedchock-2015

John Fedchock, trombone

MarkMadsen-2015

Mark Madsen, vocals

LisaJelle-2016

Lisa Jelle, flute

MzuriMoyo-2016

Mzuri Moyo, vocals

JohnVonOhlen-2016

John Von Ohlen, drums

KristyParton-2016

Kristy Parton, vocals

LeslieBeukelman-2016

Leslie Beukelman, vocals

KimPensyl-2016

Kim Pensyl, trumpet

BrunoMangueira-2017

Bruno Mangueira, guitar

HarryAllen-2017

Harry Allen, tenor saxophone

BuffaloRidgeJazzBand-2017

Members of the Buffalo Ridge Jazz Band

AdiaDobbins-2017

Adia Dobbins, vocals

RustyBurge-2017

Rusty Burge, vibraphone

ConradHerwig-2017

Conrad Herwig, trombone

WayneBergeron-2017

Wayne Bergeron, trumpet

MikeWade-2018

Mike Wade, trumpet

BrentGallaher-2018

Brent Gallaher, tenor saxophone

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Alan Barnes, alto saxophone

JoeLukasik-2018

Joe Lukasik, clarinet

JaredRoper-2018

Jared Roper, vocals

ScottRobinson-2018

Scott Robinson, multi-instrumentalist

BradMyers-2018

Brad Myers, guitar

HalMelia.jpg

Hal Melia, multi-instrumentalist

LaurenSevian-2019

Lauren Sevian, baritone saxophone

PaulKellar-2019

Paul Kellar, bass

AndyBrown-2019

Andy Brown, guitar

CharlieYoung-2019

Charlie Young, alto saxophone

KatelynFox-2019

Katelyn Fox, vocals

EricLechliter-2019

Eric Lechliter, conductor and trumpet

JoshKline-2019

Josh Kline, tenor saxophone

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Mandy Gaines, vocals

JameyAebersold-2019

Jamey Aebersold, alto saxophone and educator

CincinnatiYouthChoir-2019

Cincinnati Youth Choir

JanelleReichman-2020

Janelle Reichman, tenor saxophone

RobertLomax-2021

Robert Lomax, vocals

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Ingrid Jensen, trumpet

BernardFowler-2022

Rolling Stones member Bernard Fowler, vocals

TimRies-2022

Rolling Stones member Tim Ries, tenor saxophone

PhilDeGreg-2022

Phil DeGreg, piano

RobParton-2022

Rob Parton, conductor and trumpet

ScottBelck-2022

Scott Belck, conductor and trumpet

TaylorNelson-2023

Taylor Nelson, guitar

MariaSchneider-2023

Maria Schneider, conductor and composer

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Jim Snidero, saxophone

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Dan Drees, saxophone

SallyLukasik.jpg

Sally Lukasik, trumpet

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SPONSORS

WILLIAM O. PURDY, JR. FOUNDATION FUND OF THE GREATER CINCINNATI FOUNDATION

Season Sponsor

AL HARRIS
Jazz@First Series Sponsor

LOUISE TAFT SEMPLE FOUNDATION
Season Supporter

NELLIE LEAMAN TAFT FOUNDATION
Let Freedom Swing! Supporter

OHIO ARTS COUNCIL
Season Supporter

WILLIAM O. PURDY, JR. FOUNDATION FUND OF THE GREATER CINCINNATI FOUNDATION
Season Supporter

JAZZ UP YOUR NEXT EVENT: HIRE THE CCJO

Cincinnati Contemporary Jazz Orchestra (CCJO) members are some of the preeminent Jazz artists in the nation. The members of the CCJO have performed, toured and/or recorded with many of the top names in the jazz and commercial music industry. These include Ray Charles, the Woody Herman Orchestra, Manhattan Transfer, Wynton Marsalis, Michael Feinstein, Fred Hersch, Conrad Herwig, the Temptations, Arturo Sandoval, Tony Bennett, the Jimmy Dorsey Orchestra, Bootsy Collins, Clark Terry, the Tommy Dorsey Orchestra and the Glenn Miller Orchestra.

Whether you are looking for a jazz trio for your cocktail hour or a full jazz ensemble for your wedding or private party, the CCJO can help make your entertainment dreams a reality. Contact CCJO booking manager Matthew Anklan today at mjanklan@gmail.com.

Jazz Piano Among Blurred Lights
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