Philadelphia Jazz Orchestra

The Philadelphia Jazz Orchestra (PJO) is comprised of the best high school and college jazz musicians in the greater-Philadelphia and New Jersey region. PJO is entering its 10th season under the direction of Joe Bongiovi. Since its formation, the Orchestra has played for audiences around the world, and will be hosting the Sixth Annual PJO Jazz Week at Princeton High School. Founded in 2003 by Joe Bongiovi, Rob Reeve, and Yorgo Papadakis, the group was originally conceived to keep motivated and talented musicians playing during the summer. There was never any intention of performing, just rehearsing. At the end of the first summer, parents suggested a fundraising performance at a local pizza parlor. As the "great pizza gig" approached, the band had to choose a name. The Summer Swing Fling Big Band (SSFBB) became the name, and this moniker stayed with the group for two years. The next year, the SSFBB developed the ambition to play larger venues. Local jazz clubs, however, were not receptive. Then, by chance, Chris' Jazz Cafe in Philadelphia happened to have a professional band pull out from a booking last minute. With less than 24 hours’ notice, the SSFBB took the spot in the famous venue. The chance success at Chris' Jazz Club eventually led to several performances at the legendary ZanzibaR&Blue in Philadelphia, a performance at Hershey Park, and the band’s firstemperformance at the Kennedy Center in 2004. The opportunity for a name change finally came in 2005 as the band planned a performance tour of Greece, as Summer Swing Fling Big Band simply did not translate well into Greek. SSFBB at last adopted the more internationally friendly name Philadelphia Jazz Orchestra. The next year, the band played at Chris' Jazz Cafe every Tuesday night in the months of July and August. The band also played at ZanzibaR&Blue, the Waterfront, the Conduit Music Club in Trenton, and, once again, under its new billing at The Kennedy Center. In 2007 the PJO traveled to Italy, where they played four concerts during the 10-day tour. As part of the tour, the band performed at the Tuscia in Jazz Festival in Soriano nel Cimino. After the success of national and international performances, the PJO Jazz Week was organized in an effort to retain the original concept of setting a summer rehearsal and educational space for talented students. PJO Jazz Week features prominent guests artists, students from across the nation and Europe, and has expanded into a two-week program. To celebrate their 10th season, PJO has released “PJO-X”, a new live CD that features some of PJO’s bestemperformances throughout their existance. In addition the beand is just returning from their fifthemeuropean Tour, including two greatest performances at the Montreux Jazz Festival in Switzerland. For more information on PJO, please visit their website at or follow them on facebook or twitter