Your very own Revive Big Band is hitting the legendary Blue Note stage on Monday, May 12th.

 Revive Big Band At Blue Note

The band’s gig comes on the heels of performances at the Harlem Stage with Bilal, the Kennedy Center, and most recently, Durham, NC’s Art of Cool Festival.

Known for their seamless amalgamation of hip-hop and jazz, the Revive Big Band was formed in 2010 by trumpeter, composer, and arranger Igmar Thomas. While the Berklee graduate might not be the only artist on the scene today whose jazz studies training informs his love for hip-hop, Thomas is the only one leading a big band to promote it. It’s easy to dream up arrangements that lead from “On Green Dolphin Street” to A Tribe Called Quest’s “Jazz (We’ve Got)”. It’s a completely different story when you’re arranging horn parts for legendary jazz masters like Ku-umba Frank Lacey and today’s young lions like Marcus Strickland.

If Thomas is RBB’s brainchild for the jazz department, then Berklee professor DJ Raydar Ellis is the band’s guru. Outside professorial duties, Ellis is also a part of fellow RBB member and saxophonist Marcus Strickland’s group, Twi-Life. Jazz writer Willard Jenkins had this to say about RBB’s emcee and DJ:

“The soul of the RBB’s hip hop perspective is rapper-turntablist Raydar Ellis, who is completely immersed in the form, has the in-the-pocket cadence and couplets down, has the requisite moves & stage presence, but sans the hard guy/male diva/I’m-a-gazillionaire-and-you’re-not posturing persona of so many rappers.”

Raydar Ellis Revive Big Band Blue Note

RBB’s commitment to jazz and hip-hop can be clearly seen through its collaborations with legends from both idioms, like Dr. Lonnie Smith, Nicholas Payton, Roy Hargrove, Ben Williams, Bilal, Otis Brown, Patience Higgins, Mark Whitfield, Talib Kweli, Pharoahe Monch, and more.

Outside of carrying the same name, the Revive Big Band and Revive – the online editorial – have a lot in common. Both are run by men and women who came up listening to albums like Low End Theory, checking liner notes for who sampled who, and heading over to record stores to figure out who Ron Carter is. The Revive Big Band, as well as Revive the editorial, carries the name Revive because of our commitment to bringing audiences the spirit that drives jazz. The big band’s music and the musicians we post about online might not be the same “jazz” that your grandmother or your boss has in mind, but it is the jazz music of our generation.

Catch your generation’s big band at Blue Note on May 12th. Pre-order tickets here.

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