Are a jazz big band in the traditional format, playing a unique blend of standard and contemporary big band jazz, a repertoire that includes charts from Sammy Nestico, Pat Metheny and Chick Corea through to popular favourites from Duke Ellington, Count Basie and Glenn Miller. It is their unique ability to combine popular and contemporary big band jazz that has established the Taverners Big Band as one of the UK’s leading big bands.
Acclaimed as they are the beginning for the Taverners Big Band was modest. Over Christmas 1983 they toured the pubs of Christchurch playing carols collecting money for a new all-year-round lifeboat for the RNLI station at Mudeford. Throughout the evening the traditional carols took on an increasing jazz beat, and as the impromptu carollers recovered their breath and lubricated their embouchure in their favourite inn, the idea of a forming a big band was born.
With glasses of Ringwood beer they baptised the new arrival on the music scene in the name of the Castle Tavern, formerly a traditional British pub, now a trendy wine bar. In the smoke-filled bar of the Castle Tavern, few could have imagined the success that lay ahead for the musicians. Steve Waterman, described by the late Humphrey Littleton as one of the UK’s greatest jazz trumpeters, quickly established himself in the London scene.
In over 25 years since The Taverners Big Band was formed, they have performed in four countries including inside ‘The Rock’ of Gibraltar, raising money for charities such as Mudeford RNLI, Christchurch Macmillan Unit, Cancer Research, PolioPlus, MenCAP, Round Table’s children’s playground at Mudeford Quay and the Mayor’s appeal fund for the families of the two Christchurch firemen killed while on duty in the Great Storm.