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 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. This balanced vision along with a mission to make jazz accessible and approachable for listeners of all backgrounds means that the group's programming is often drawn from artists ranging from Duke Ellington and Charles Mingus all the way to Prince 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 backing up many of the world's brightest jazz stars, the band has performed with everyone from Latin percussionists to classical string quartets to full gospel choirs.

 

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, Arturo Sandoval, 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: Miami University, Capital University, Northern Kentucky University, Butler University, Xavier University, the University of Dayton and the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music. 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 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. 

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.

Ultimately, the CCJO believes in the power of music to transform lives for the better and seeks to bring the beauty and elegance of Jazz to students and audiences alike.

ARTISTIC DIRECTOR

EricLechliterHeadshot.jpg

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
PHIL DEGREG

Chairman, Piano
HAROLD DULL
Director
JOHN LIEBERMAN
Treasurer
DOUG LILLIBRIDGE
President
SPENCER MERK
Director
SAM MOORE
Director
JEFF NEU
Director
SANDY UHRIG
Director
JANE WELLING
Vice President
JEFF BLANKENSHIP
Legal Counsel

SPONSORS

AL HARRIS

Jazz@First Series Sponsor

OHIO ARTS COUNCIL

BIG JOE DUSKIN MUSIC EDUCATION FOUNDATION

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

Season Sponsor

NELLIE LEAMAN TAFT FOUNDATION

Season Sponsor

LOUISE TAFT SEMPLE FOUNDATION

Season Sponsor

ROBERT A. & MARIAN K. KENNEDY CHARITABLE TRUST

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