Jim Galloway's Wee Big Band

Formed in 1979 as a repertory band specialising in the music of the great bands of the swing era, Jim Galloway's Wee Big band now has over 400 arrangements, perhaps the most extensive repertoire of any big band in the country.

The music of Duke Ellington has always been an integral part of the band's library, with examples of his work ranging from his early works in the late 20's to his sacred music in the 70's but tributes to the bands of Count Basie, Benny Goodman,Woody Herman, Jimmie Lunceford, Jay McShann, Buddy Rich and Artie Shaw are also in the band's library.

From its first engagement, a broadcast on CJRT -FM from the Ontario Science Centre, the band has made numerous radio broadcasts and television appearances and has played throughout Canada.

The Wee Big Band was the featured orchestra at the 1987 Duke Ellington Conference held in Toronto.
In October of 1991 the band was presented in concert, sponsored by the Toronto Chapter of the Duke Ellington Society, presenting "Portraits of Ellington." This concert was recorded and broadcast by CBC Radio.
In 1999, the band gave a highly successful concert to celebrate the Duke Ellington centenary. On this occasion the guest artist was Clark Terry, the celebrated trumpet/fluegelhorn virtuoso who was a mainstay of the Ellington band for many years and who later said that the band came as close to the spirit of Ellington’s music as any he had played with.

In June of 2000, a critically acclaimed concert was presented at St. Paul's Anglican Church in Toronto. It was made up of selections from the Ellington Sacred Concerts, and, incidentally, performed in same Church where the Duke and his orchestra played in 1971. The evening also featured the world premiere of "Dance To The Music Of Time", a series of tone poems commissioned by Music Canada 2000 and composed by Jim Galloway and Rosemary Galloway.

In 2003 the Wee Big Band played for the annual Duke Ellington Society fund-raising concert at Walter Hall in the University of Toronto. The evening was so successful that the band was hired for the 2004 event.

The Wee Big Band celebrated its 25th anniversary in 2004 and had the distinction of performing the opening concert of the Toronto Downtown Jazz festival in June.

In 2005 the Wee Big Band got a standing ovation at the Sean O’Sullivan Theatre at Brock University.

Again in 2006 the band performed the opening concert at the Toronto Jazz Festival, on this occasion with special guest, Tommy Ambrose. Highlights from this event were broadcast on Jazz.FM91 as part of the Ken Page Memorial Trust Series.

A three-night engagement in 2006 at The Montreal Bistro & Jazz Club in Toronto was recorded and a CD from these performances was released in February 2008 at the Japanese Canadian Cultural Centre. There are two previous recordings including a CD featuring special guests Jay McShann, legendary Kansas City bandleader, former Woody Herman drummer, Jake Hanna and Canadian tenor saxophonist Fraser McPherson . This album was well received by critics and public alike in North America and Europe and amply demonstrates the genuine enthusiasm that radiates from this toe-tapping swinging big band.

The Wee Big Band has performed regularly at local jazz festivals and special occasion concerts, with its most recent appearance taking place at the Harbourfront West Jet Stage in the 2014 Canada Day Weekend celebrations.

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