The Cincinnati Contemporary Jazz Orchestra (CCJO) is a 17-member ensemble dedicated to performing, preserving, and teaching Jazz as a living art form. Its members are some of the preeminent Jazz artists and educators in the nation, all of whom have deep ties to the greater Cincinnati music education community. The ensemble explores the works of contemporary composers as well as those of the masters of the Jazz heritage, including Duke Ellington, Charles Mingus, Miles Davis and Gil Evans.
The members of the CCJO have performed, toured and/or recorded with many of the top names in the jazz and commercial music industry. These include Ray Charles, the Woody Herman Orchestra, Manhattan Transfer, Wynton Marsalis, Michael Feinstein, Fred Hersch, Conrad Herwig, the Temptations, Arturo Sandoval, Tony Bennett, the Jimmy Dorsey Orchestra, Bootsy Collins, Clark Terry, the Tommy Dorsey Orchestra and the Glenn Miller Orchestra.
As educators, nearly all of the ensemble members serve on the music faculties of prominent university music schools, including: Miami University, Northern Kentucky University, Butler University, Xavier University, the University of Dayton and the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music. The CCJO is led by Artistic Director Dr. Scott Belck who currently serves as the director of the University of Cincinnati’s College-Conservatory of Music (CCM) Jazz and Commercial Music Program.
The CCJO believes in the power of music to transform lives for the better and seeks to bring the beauty and elegance of Jazz to students and audiences alike.
Message from our Founder – (Me)
We are pleased to introduce you to an exciting new creative ensemble, the Cincinnati Contemporary Jazz Orchestra (CCJO). Our professional members are some of the top Jazz artists and educators in the Midwest and we are dedicated to celebrating the legacy of America’s truly indigenous art form, Jazz.
The CCJO achieves this goal through the presentation focused on original and contemporary Jazz repertoire, but featuring modern as well as classic composers and arrangers. The ensemble also strives to present and perform repertory works and retrospectives of timeless Jazz artists such as Duke Ellington, Charles Mingus and Thelonious Monk – always showcasing Jazz as a living art form – relevant yesterday, today and tomorrow.
As a 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation, the CCJO is dedicated to reaching out to the greater Cincinnati community by offering outstanding educational programs and performances that aim to enrich and transform lives through the power of the arts. Already, in our first year, we have partnered with the education program at Wynton Marlsalis’ Jazz at Lincoln Center to offer a truly unique and creative series of in-school presentations to area schools called Let Freedom Swing!
The Let Freedom Swing! programs present topics such as Jazz and Democracy, Jazz and Civil Right, and Jazz and the Harlem Renaissance to school and community audiences, explaining the historical intersection of Jazz and the American spirit. The program celebrates our shared heritage and, through music, helps participants and audiences to build a common understanding of the world in which we live.
Through our live performances and hands-on educational outreach programs, the CCJO will take an active, engaged role in the Cincinnati arts and educational community. We would be delighted to have you join us in this worthy endeavor, whether by hosting a Let Freedom Swing! event at your school or community center, joining us at an upcoming concert, volunteering or helping by making a tax-deductible contribution today. Please check out our website or Facebook page to stay up-to-date with the CCJO and plan to come out to one of our exciting upcoming concerts!