The Millennium Jazz Orchestra is a pure jazz orchestra with professional Dutch and German musicians. Since 1990 the orchestra, under Joan Reinders’ leadership, plays a regular monthly concert in Theater Bouwkunde in Deventer (NL), featuring a famous nationally or internationally soloist like Toots Thielemans, Dick Oatts, Kenny Wheeler, Benny Golson, New York Voices, Claudio Roditi, James Moody, Lew Tabackin, Jiggs Whigham, Bobby Shew, Herb Geller, Lee Konitz, Ernie Watts, Charlie Mariano, The Four Freshmen, Bud Shank, Pete Christlieb, Philip Catherine and many others.
The orchestra has played in many theatres and music halls in the Netherlands and Germany, such as the Concertgebouw Amsterdam and North Sea Jazz Festival. In January 2006 the Millennium Jazz Orchestra and singer Fay Claassen were invited to perform at the International Association for Jazz Education, which took place in New York.
Special projects are part of the band’s interests, such as:
- Jazzy Wind (2015-2016). The Millennium Jazz Orchestra plays Symphonic Wind.
- Jazz meets Classic meets World Music (2010). The Millennium Jazz Orchestra with string orchestra Sinfonietta Aurora and singer Esra Dalfidan.
- ArtEZ Composition Contest (2007-2013). This contest was open for composers of all nationalities (no age limit). Participants came from all over the world. Each year the Millennium Jazz Orchestra, under Joan Reinders’ leadership, performed five selected compositions for the final round.
The Millennium Jazz Orchestra recorded several CDs:
- In 2014 the newest album ‘Safety Zone’, with compositions and arrangements by Joan Reinders. This CD features the whole orchestra.
- On the CD ‘Distrust All Rules’ (2011) the Millennium Jazz Orchestra plays the music of Henri Gerrits, composer/arranger/trombonist of the orchestra.
- The CD ‘Pretty Pumps’ (2010) contains only compositions of Joan Reinders.
- The CD ‘Oattsnotes’ (2005) features the famous American alto saxophonist Dick Oatts. It contains compositions of both Dick Oatts and Joan Reinders. All arrangements, however, are written by Joan Reinders.
- The CD ‘Specially Arranged For Fay’ (2002), played by the Millennium Jazz Orchestra, is arranged and conducted by Joan Reinders. Special guest is the fantastic Dutch singer Fay Claassen.
- On the CD ‘Triangular’ (2000) of The Millennium Jazz Orchestra, with the famous Belgian guitar player Philip Catherine as a guest artist, all tracks have been composed and/or arranged by Joan Reinders.
- The CD ‘Magnifying-glass’ (1998), played by the Big Barchem Band, contains compositions and arrangements of Joan Reinders. Guest soloist is the German soprano-and tenor saxophonist Peter Weniger.
- The CD ‘Some Frames of Mind’ (1992), played by the Big Barchem Band, is a live recording at Theater Bouwkunde in Deventer (NL). It features Ferdinand Povel on alto saxophone.
All CDs have brought about many warm reactions here and abroad. Some of the many enthusiastic comments:
‘Dutch composer / arranger Joan Reinders isn’t well-known (in fact, hardly known at all) on this side of the Pond but really should be, as he is among the best anywhere at what he does, which is basically writing and arranging for big bands including the splendid Millennium Jazz Orchestra. ….. his work is as impressive as any big-band jazz you’re likely to hear, in the Netherlands or well beyond its borders.’ (Pretty Pumps) Jack Bowers on Allaboutjazz.com
‘ This cd is an excellent example how big band music is composed, arranged and played in a contemporary manner.’ (Oattsnotes) Munich records
‘If you’re only going to buy one big band/vocalist album this year, “Specially Arranged for Fay” should probably be the one. This isn’t your grandfather’s big band, and perhaps not your father’s, either. If it is, you’ve got hip parents, for sure.’ (Specially Arranged for Fay) Bruce Anderson
‘…On her third album Fay Claassen takes a cue from Ol’ Blue Eyes, using as her back-up crew the world-class Millennium Jazz Orchestra and commissioning superlative charts by conductor / music director Joan Reinders.’ (Specially Arranged for Fay) Jack Bowers
‘Your music was beautifully played by the band and some of the music was extra-special .’
(Triangular) Bob Florence
‘….Getting back to Joan Reinders, I am stunned by the quality of his arrangements throughout. His brilliantly imaginative approach to standards has me in awe.
….The dynamics of the band are thrilling ….…..this superb Dutch Big Band.’
(Triangular) John Killoch
‘The performances are first rate, and excellent writing. Bravo to everyone and special congrats to the arranger.’ (Magnifying-glass) John Clayton
‘I wasn’t prepared for this kind of writing and playing. I’m really impressed by the charts. This is great music, performed with spirit and dedication.’ (Magnifying-glass) Bill Holman
‘Listening to this CD is to me a very pleasant meeting with a young powerful orchestra…’
(Some Frames of Mind) Jerry van Rooyen
On November 7th 2003 Reinders was awarded the Peter Schilperoort Award for his special contributions to Dutch jazz music. According to the jury “Joan turned a stereotype regional big band into a nationally appreciated jazz orchestra. The “Big Barchem Band” became the Millennium Jazz Orchestra, that made its name by working with many top soloists”.