The Dallas Jazz Orchestra (DJO) is a jazz big band based in Dallas, Texas, founded by Thom Mason and Galen Jeter. Since its beginning in 1973, the DJO has produced numerous notable recordings, two of which were Grammy nominated, and has performed internationally in concerts and jazz festivals, such as the Montreux Jazz Festival. Over the years, the orchestra has featured many of the most outstanding jazz players from the world class jazz program at the University of North Texas. Co-founder Galen Jeter is himself an alumnus of the University of North Texas One O'clock Lab Band, later going on to play trumpet for the Woody Herman Orchestra.
October 2003 marked the 30th anniversary of the Dallas Jazz Orchestra. In celebration of this landmark, Jeter released a recording titled "The Big 3 - 0." In addition to its performance at the Montreux Jazz Festival in Switzerland, DJO represented the United States at the World’s Fair in Seville, Spain. The orchestra, under Geter's leadership, has also entertained two United States presidents and accompanied numerous musical celebrities, including Diahann Carroll, Billy Eckstine, Doc Severinsen, Bob Hope, Steve Allen, Mel Torme, Joe Williams and the Four Freshmen. Former President George Bush remarked, “Your music was great; and, now that I have your sixth album and cassette, it doesn’t have to end.” Billy Eckstine said, “I’ve worked with practically every big orchestra you can name... The Dallas Jazz Orchestra was the big hit of the show (jazz festival), one of the big surprises. The orchestra was absolutely fantastic.”
In 1973, founders Thomas Mason and Galen Jeter brought together some of the best musicians from the Dallas area to form the Dallas Jazz Orchestra. With no outside financial support, the Dallas Jazz Orchestra played its first public concert in March 1974. The group’s first album followed soon after, recorded live at “Maxine Kent’s” in 1975. The second album, also cut live at “Maxine Kent’s, ” was produced in 1978. That same year, Galen moved the Dallas Jazz Orchestra into Wayne Morgan’s “Popsicle Toes” where it played weekly for many years. Later the band played at "Poor David's Pub" on lower Greenville Avenue before settling at the Village Country Club.
Recordings and Performances
Under Jeter’s leadership, the Dallas Jazz Orchestra produced numerous additional albums that are programmed on more than 100 radio stations throughout the United States. To this day, Galen Jeter's DJO recordings are featured regularly on jazz radio all over the United States, Canada and Europe. Over more than three decades, Galen has invited hundreds of young talented musicians to join the Dallas Jazz Orchestra, drawing from the renowned jazz programs at the University of North Texas and other schools in the Dallas / Fort Worth Area. Many of the alumni of the DJO have gone on to join the ranks of bands led by well-known jazz greats such as Woody Herman, Buddy Rich, Ramsey Lewis, and Stan Kenton. DJO has concertized with numerous luminaries of the jazz world, including Lou Marini, Don Menza, Marvin Stamm, Tom Malone, Bobby Shew and many others.
Dallas Jazz Orchestra Spin-offs
In recent years, DJO founder Galen Jeter left the organization to form a new band, first known as the "Galen Jeter Orchestra, " now known as "Dallas' Original Jazz Orchestra" (DOJO) . Following Jeter's departure, Dallas Jazz Orchestra, now under leadership of Curt Bradshaw, has become far less active than Jeter's original group (both on the concert stage, as well as in the recording studio), while Jeter's new band (DOJO) continues to perform weekly (at the Village Country Club in Dallas) and releases new recordings often. Many of the original members of the first Dallas Jazz Orchestra now perform with Jeter's new band, while none of the original DJO members participate in the current version of what is called "DJO." The latest album by Galen Jeter's DOJO is titled "Where There's Smoke."
DJO and DOJO Arrangers and Composers
A list of arrangers and composers who have written for Galen Jeter's DJO and DOJO groups includes:
Recorded by Galen Jeter's Dallas Jazz Orchestra, and produced by Jeter:
- Hey Man, Dallas Jazz Orchestra (1975) Recorded "live" at Maxine Kent's)
- North Garland Jazz "Live" 1980 Guest Soloist under the direction of Jim Jeter
- Super Chicken, Dallas Jazz Orchestra (1980) Double Album
- Morning Glory, Dallas Jazz orchestra (1982)
- Fat Mamma’s Revenge, Dallas Jazz Orchestra (1984)
- Live at Montreaux, Dallas Jazz Orchestra (1985) Recorded “live” at the Montreux Jazz Festival in Montreux Switzerland
- Romeo And Juliet, Dallas Jazz Orchestra (1988) - Dedicated to Peter Vollmers, "By unanimous vote of the band".
- Thank You, Leon, Dallas Jazz Orchestra (1990)
- Turning Twenty, Dallas Jazz Orchestra (1992)
- Dallas Jazz Orchestra Plays Dee Barton (1994, Grammy nominated, 1996), featuring Don Menza
- Scrapbook, Dallas Jazz Orchestra (1996)
- DJO Un-Numbered In The Front, Dallas Jazz Orchestra (2001) (Never released)
- Big 30, Galen Jeter and Dallas' Original Jazz Orchestra (2004)
- Messin' With Texas, Galen Jeter and Dallas' Original Jazz Orchestra (2006)
- Where There's Smoke, Dallas' Original Jazz Orchestra (2009), featuring Drenda Barnett