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  • Ed Schmieder

The New Millennium Jazz Septet: A Big Band Distilled

To better imagine the New Millennium Jazz Septet, you need to meet its big, big brother: The New Millennium Jazz Band. The NMJB is a contemporary big band performing new arrangements of jazz standards and original jazz compositions. The band consists of 18 of the most talented professional musicians in the area often augmented by singers. It could be called the Suffolk Theater’s un-official house band because of the four annual dates appearances. And they hold the crown of the best recurring act in the Riverhead theater.

The MNJB gets around playing at corporate events, big weddings (big weddings need big bands, right?), the Surflight Theater (Long Beach, NJ), the Dix Hills Performing Arts Center, and The Waldorf Astoria. They have also served as Joe Piscopo’s band for his Sinatra shows.

The band typically plays twenty-first-century arrangements of Frank Sinatra, Bobby Darin, Dean Martin, and Michael Bublé, so there are edgier twists that find their way into the performances. If you follow contemporary big band recording artists (as I do), think Gordon Goodwin’s Big Phat Band’s recordings like The Phat Pack. In fact, in conversation with the band’s director and producer, Steve Perrillo, he noted that they use some of Goodwin and Bublé’s charts from among their other 430 acquired arrangements.

As I noted, BIG WEDDINGS need the BIG BAND. However, intimate spaces like The Long Island Stage need a distillation of a big band: a band’s essence. Steve Perrillo has worked his alchemy and brings us The New Millennium Jazz Septet for this performance. Long Island Stage viewers will meet vocalist Alex Sonera, keyboardist, John Tinley, guitarist Dennis DiGregorio, trumpeter Joe Porcelli, trombonist Eric Miller, drummer Peter Greco, and of course Steve Perrillo on tenor sax, flute, and bass clarinet.

Expect to hear a Sinatra medley that will be fast-paced: verse, chorus, and out and on to the next tune (six in all).

Because the NMJB is a live touring act, you will not find audio recordings on streaming music platforms, but you will find numerous clips and full performances on the web. They are well worth the search. You may also discover the myriad other musical projects that Steve Perrillo captains: East End Pops, Latin jazz in Latinology. His Jazz Education of Long Island non-profit is doing its part helping to sustain America’s “classical” music. That is an effort many listeners can get behind.

Tune in and catch The New Millennium Jazz Septet as they come out swingin’ tonight!

New Millennium Jazz Band

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