Based: Cape Town
With the recent surge in popularity of the Big Band bought on by artistes such as Robbie Williams, Michael Buble, Rod Stewart and Westlife, it’s a full diary for South Africa’s premier 19 piece Big Band, The Jonny Cooper Orchestra.
In 1999 they signed a major representation agreement with the Prestige-Elite Group in London to press and distribute their CD’s “Legends of Swing” and “Just Like That” Internationally, joining a roster of International stars. In 2004 they were appointed as the official Glenn Miller Orchestra South Africa by Glenn Miller Productions Inc. USA a title they have been proud to represent through to 2007.
Playing to Full Houses throughout South Africa, The Jonny Cooper Big Band recreates the Swing era of the 1940’s. Consisting of four trumpets, four trombones, five saxes and a rhythm section, the orchestra replicates the 1938 civilian orchestra of Glenn Miller. The visual appeal of the Big Band is pushed to the hilt with waving trombones and shining trumpets moving in well drilled unison to drive home the riffs of Miller favourites such as ‘In The Mood, String Of Pearls, Tuxedo Junction and Moonlight Serenade’.
The Jonny Cooper Orchestra is recognised Internationally as one of the finest ‘copyists’ of the Glenn Miller Sound and has been referred to recently in the International Big Band magazine ‘Big Band Buddies’ as ‘One of the best Big Bands in the world’.
Moving away from the Miller Mood, Jonny introduces other Big Band favourites of the era, with tributes to Benny Goodman, Tommy Dorsey, Count Basie and Duke Ellington. Guest vocalist Beverley Scott-Brown, Amanda Tiffin, Cliff Benton and Timothy Moloi add a great deal with vocal tributes to Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis Jnr., Louis Armstrong, Ella Fitzgerald and Nat King Cole, singing in the classic style of the Big Band singers of the 1940’s, a style which is beguiling today as it was when ‘Swing was King’.
In addition the five piece vocal talents of ‘Track Five’ compliment the style and era with tributes to the Modernaires, Pied Pipers and Andrew Sisters performing classics such as ‘Perfidia, Chatanooga Choo Choo, On The Sunny Side Of The Street, and Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy’ to name but a few.
The Jonny Cooper Big Band were featured on one of South Africa’s most popular reality shows MNET’s Idols in a swing special for the top 7 finalists , toured South Africa with the ‘Dunhill Swing’ event and performed at the prestigious ‘Presidents Cup’ for the Gala Ball. An endless stream of Corporate events, award evenings. Gala events and public performances keeps the Jonny Cooper Big Band travelling throughout South Africa and beyond.
Swing is ‘Swinging’ here in South Africa as it has been introduced to a new generation of young listeners of all backgrounds and cultures. This is emphasised by the Jonny Cooper Big Band as it performs popular African songs re-arranged into the Big Band Swing idiom featuring popular African singers such as Sibongele Khumalo, Gloria Bosman and Timothy Moloi. KNET’s production of ‘Dannie Big Band Bosman’ paid tribute to one of SA’s most popular composers of the 1940’s Dannie Bosman where the Jonny Cooper Big Band re-arranged his most popular tunes into Big Band style with tunes like ‘Lente In Die Ou Transvaal, Ou Musikant, Net n Stille Uurtjie,Kaapse Draai and Oom Bossie Van Die Bosveld’. South Africa’s Idols, Heinz Winckler, Karen and Brendon have all performed with the Jonny Cooper Orchestra as have many of SA’s musical icons, The Soweto String Quartet, The Bali Brothers, The Three Tenors etc.
With the resurgence in the popularity of Big Band Swing, the Jonny Cooper Orchestra have introduced this genre of music to a whole new generation of listeners here in South Africa.
In 2003, the orchestra was featured on MNET’s Pop Idols, performing in a Swing Special for the seven ‘Pop Idols’ finalists.
This unprecedented success of the Jonny Cooper Orchestra over the past decade, has put them in the International spotlight as they perform at just about every major venue and event throughout South Africa and beyond.
We have been fortunate to receive a lot of International media attention over the past few years placing this orchestra amongst the top Big Bands in the world. We are very proud both as musicians and as a South African organization to have received this recognition