The Kennedy Center

The Airmen of Note


The Airmen of Note is the premier jazz ensemble of the United States Air Force. Created in 1950 to carry on the tradition of Glenn Miller's Army Air Corps dance band, the Note adopted a more contemporary style under the direction of the legendary Sammy Nestico. Beginning in the '70s, Senior Master Sgt. 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 Sgt. Alan Baylock, the Note's current chief arranger, maintains the band's commitment to driving innovation and respect for tradition. To augment its talented writing staff, the Airmen of Note has commissioned works by such celebrated arrangers as Bob Florence and Bob Mintzer. Sammy Nestico and fellow Note alumnus Tommy Newsom have each composed works for the group as well.

The Airmen of Note is one of today's few touring big bands. As a result, it has attracted 18 of the finest musicians in the country. 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. Its appearances in five South American Countries, eight European countries, and Japan have solidified its reputation as one of the best bands of its kind in the world. This reputation has led to the Note's regular and greatly anticipated feature performances at the world's most famous jazz festivals, including the Detroit/Montreux Jazz Festival, San Jose Jazz Festival, Notre Dame Jazz Festival, Jacksonville Jazz Festival, Wichita Jazz Festival, Elkhart Jazz Festival, Hartford Jazz Festival, and the Pensacola Jazz Festival.

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 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 Cleo Laine. In 1990, the Airmen of Note established its highly acclaimed Jazz Heritage Series. Since then, legendary jazz icons like Clark Terry and Louis Bellson, as well as today's top artists like Arturo Sandoval and Randy Brecker, have considered it a great honor to share the stage with the Airmen of Note as it presents this series to D.C. audiences.

Watch Past Performances

Video 4/3/2016: The United States Air Force (USAF) Airmen of Note

The United States Air Force (USAF) Airmen of Note, the premier jazz ensemble of the USAF, performs in recognition of the 2016 NEA Jazz Masters Tribute Concert (4/4 in the Concert Hall), an annual event honoring the 2016 National Endowment for the Arts Jazz Masters.

Video 11/28/2011: U.S. Air Force Airmen of Note Saxophones

The United States Air Force Band is the Air Force's premier musical organization.

The Airmen of Note