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The Airmen of Note
THE UNITED STATES AIR FORCE BAND
AIRMEN OF NOTE
The Airmen of Note is one of eight performing units of the United States Air Force Band in Washington, D.C., and is the premier jazz ensemble of the United States Air Force. Originally created in 1950 to carry on the tradition of Glenn Miller's Army Air Corps dance band, the Airmen of Note is one of today's few touring big bands, and has attracted 18 of the finest musicians in the country. As a result, it has earned an international reputation as one of the finest and most versatile big bands of its kind in the world.
Twice yearly, the “Note” ventures throughout the United States, spreading its big band sound to communities from coast to coast. The Airmen of Note also has an extensive record of international performing, with appearances in five South American Countries, eight European countries and Japan. The “Note” also appears regularly at the world’s most famous jazz festivals, including feature performances at the Detroit/Montreux Jazz Festival, Notre Dame Jazz Festival, Jacksonville Jazz Festival, Wichita Jazz Festival, Elkhart Jazz Festival and the Pensacola Jazz Festival.
Throughout the history of the Airmen of Note, the Glenn Miller sound has remained a strong ingredient in the band’s musical heritage. In the early 1950s, the “Note” continued the innovative course set by Miller and adopted a more contemporary style under the direction of the legendary Sammy Nestico. Beginning in the 1970s, Senior Master Sergeant Mike Crotty, the Note’s chief arranger for more than 25 years, helped elevate the band to the forefront of modern big band jazz. Today, Master Sergeant Alan Baylock, the Note’s current chief arranger, maintains the band’s commitment to tradition and “cutting edge” innovation.
The Airmen of Note’s steadfast commitment to musical excellence and reputation for setting the highest standards has earned the respect of the world’s foremost jazz artists. This has led to many collaborative efforts, recordings and performances with such luminaries as Joe Williams, Sarah Vaughan and Doc Severinsen. Since 1990, the Airmen of Note has shared the stage with legendary jazz icons such as Clark Terry and Ron Carter, as well as some of today’s top artists, including Eddie Daniels, Randy Brecker, Karryn Allison and Nicholas Payton, in its highly acclaimed Jazz Heritage Series in Washington, DC.
The Airmen of Note is a leading force in music education. Many of its members are accomplished clinicians with extensive backgrounds in music education. They routinely lead clinics at high schools and colleges across the country, and are frequently invited to perform at national music conventions, including the International Association of Jazz Educators, Music Educators National Conference, and The Midwest Clinic.
The “Note’s” Jazz Outreach Program, a series of educational clinics and performances, is the epitome of this commitment. The purpose of Jazz Outreach is to further jazz education by presenting young musicians with close and personal contact with the Airmen of Note via a series of clinics and concerts held at high schools and colleges across the nation.
Another sign of the Airmen of Note’s commitment to music education is the Sammy Nestico Award, initiated in 1994 and named after the former leader of the Note. The objective of this annual competition is to encourage young jazz composers writing in the big band idiom. The Award winner travels to Washington, D.C., for the performance of his or her composition by the Airmen of Note at a major concert.
Throughout 2010, the Airmen of Note celebrates six decades as one of our nation’s most revered musical organizations. In its 60th year and beyond, this national treasure will continue building upon its rich musical heritage, all the while providing world-class musical support for today’s United States Air Force.