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About Calgary Jazz Orchestra

“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

OUR players

There 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 will be 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.​

OUR DIRECTOR

Johnny Summers, Director and Founder of the Calgary Jazz Orchestra, is a professionally trained vocalist, trumpeter, arranger and composer. For more information visit www.johnnysummers.com

“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

OUR arrangements

All arrangements and compositions are unique creations by Johnny Summers, and various other members of the orchestra, and more great musicians. 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.

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Our Goals

To share the story about the history and development of Jazz music and the Jazz orchestra.

To offer a stimulating, entertaining 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 experiences for Orchestra members to grow as musicians, performers, composers and arrangers. And to showcase the amazing musicians in the 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 a group of the best of the best jazz artists for the 16-24 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.