About the Calgary Jazz Orchestra

“Sound is the same as a painter’s palette. Our goal when performing is to paint incredible pictures with the variety of colours that we have at our disposal. To create an acoustic picture is art for the moment – the music is more emotional and resonates with the audience.”

-Johnny Summers, Director, Calgary Jazz Orchestra

The Story

Calgary is a vibrant, cultural city that embraces the arts, and encourages professional musicianship. However, one major component was lacking: Calgarians needed a Jazz Orchestra, and Calgary’s Jazz musicians needed performance opportunities and a place to grow professionally. 


This void was recognized, and the Calgary Jazz Orchestra was established in 2004. 


Johnny, Director of the Orchestra, hand-picked 15 of the best of the best jazz artists for the 16-piece orchestra he leads with his trumpet. These musicians are professionally trained, world-class performers with over 300 years of combined experience.  This is a very special Calgary Jazz band.


The Sound

 “Bud-dah. Calgary jazzman Johnny Summers makes music so creamy, so smooth, so rich that you could put in on your pancakes and watch it melt all over the stack. He makes Bud-dah.”

-Mike Bell, Calgary Sun


This is not your typical orchestra! The CJO is a high energy, passionate and fun group of musicians whose goal is to engage and reach the audience with every song. The atmosphere is upbeat and fun, and is consistently enjoyed by all ages and all musical tastes.


The rich acoustic traditional Big Band sound emanates from top professionals in their field, and is comprised of four trumpets, four trombones, five saxophones and a three-piece rhythm section.  Johnny also often adds his rich vocals to the mix.  All musicians are personable and witty, and laughter by all is a guaranteed component of each show.


All of the CJO’s musicians get the spotlight with frequent solos:


“They tell a story and as it builds you see big smiles on the faces of the others in the Orchestra listening. This is what it’s all about. This kind of vibe, this incredible music, the mutual respect we have for each other. This is what happens when you bring together a bunch of slamming players, challenge them and allow them to move each other. The audience sees this, feels this and shares in this.”

-Johnny Summers, Director, Calgary Jazz Orchestra

The Ideas

The Calgary Jazz Orchestra operates by four main mandates:

  •          To share the story about the history and development of jazz music and the jazz orchestra
  •          To offer a stimulating, enjoyable and quality experience the audience won’t forget
  •          To educate the audience – adults and children alike – on the complexity, beauty and importance of jazz music.
  •          To provide performance opportunities and experiences for Orchestra members, and to offer high school bands the                opportunity to perform with a professional jazz orchestra. 

 The Arrangements


All arrangements and compositions are unique creations by Johnny Summers, Drummer Greg Baker, and various other members of the orchestra.  As none of the concerts contain pre-purchased or published music, the audience is guaranteed a unique and fresh experience like none-other with each performance. 


All arrangements by the CJO are available for purchase for your professional orchestra, or can be re-arranged for your community orchestra or high school band.  Please contact the CJO for more information. 


The Director


Johnny Summers, Director and Founder of the Calgary Jazz Orchestra, is a professionally trained vocalist, trumpeter, arranger and composer.  He has worked as a professional musician for 15 years, and owns and operates Summertime Music. 


For more information, visit Johnny’s website at www.johnnysummers.com.

The Players

Their are so many skilled musicians in our area that we try to treat our group as a collective, to try and include all of the best players as much as we can.  Our fantastic players are listed here.  Look for their personal projects and support them wherever they perform.  Most of these fine musicians are also available for private lessons and more. Feel free to contact us if you are interested in studying or having a selection of these players play at your event.


  • Gerry Hebert (Arranger)
  • Richard Harding
  • Jeremy Brown
  • Shane Statz (Arranger)
  • Sarah Matheson
  • Jim Brenan
  • Pat Belliveau
  • Brian Vance
  • Brent Mah
  • Eric Allison
  • Keith O'Rourke (Arranger)


  • Johnny Summers (Arranger)
  • Al Muirhead (Arranger)
  • Kim Beachum
  • Gordon Wilhelm
  • Jim Murray
  • Dave Foley
  • Jay Michalak
  • Andre Wickenheiser


  • Brian Wally
  • Carsten Rubeling (Arranger)
  • Dave Reid
  • Jim Scott
  • Tim Embree
  • Mike Thomson
  • Greg Robertson
  • Nathan Gingrich
  • Dean Yeats (Arranger)
  • Russ Broom
  • Keith Smith


  • Egor Ukollof
  • Willy Joosen
  • Bob Erlendson
  • Sheldon Zandboer


  • Kodi Hutchinson
  • John Gray
  • Rubim de Toledo
  • Brendan Macelroy (Arranger)


  • Greg Baker (Arranger)
  • Spencer Cheyne
  • Jon McCaslin


  • Johnny Summers
  • Johanna Sillanpaa
  • Hazel Proctor
  • Rob Young

For ticket/concert information, or to book the CJO for an event, contact us at:

Calgary Jazz Orchestra

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