The Hollywood Jazz Orchestra is coming

The Hollywood Jazz Orchestra (HJO), which has performed in premier L.A. Jazz venues like Catalina’s and LACMA, is bringing their eclectic mix of new and relevant music to Ventura for the first time. The 18-piece Orchestra is led by conductor, composer, arranger Charley Harrison, who has also directed UCLA Jazz Orchestra since 2004. Over the years, Harrison has had compositions and arrangements performed by jazz greats like Kurt Elling, Marcus Miller, Cedar Walton, Joe Williams and The Count Basie Orchestra.

“I’m excited for the upcoming HJO performance at The Grape as it provides an opportunity to showcase the virtuosity and versatility of the HJO musicians” says Harrison. “We will be featuring new music from our composers and arrangers that highlight the breadth of the HJO repertoire”

The nucleus of HJO were members of the Buddy Collette Big Band formed in the mid-2000’s during the saxophone legend’s later years. After rejoining forces with many new performers in 2022, the new Orchestra (featuring many younger members) made it’s debut at Catalina’s in Hollywood and later headlined at LACMA and the Rochester International Jazz Festival in New York. Its arrangers include Harrison, Tom Garling, Nick DePinna, Conrad Herwig and Bob Mintzer. Among its storied, in-demand musicians: Justo Almario, Gerry Pinter, Clayton Cameron, Les Benedict, Ian Vo, Randall Willis, Anne King, Ann Patterson and Brian O’Rourke.

Until recently a resident of Ventura, David Payne, HJO’s Executive Director, says “We’ve played sold out concerts at important traditional venues but we’re looking to bring the orchestra to venues where big bands seldom play. We’re trying to change the public perception of big band concerts.

Tickets for the Thursday May 23 concert are on sale now: $20 online at; $25 at the door. The Grape’s mid-town address: 2733 E. Main St.

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