The Temple Jazz Orchestra, founded and directed by Thomas Fairlie, is in residence at Temple College in Temple, Texas. TJO emerged from the natural growth of the jazz program at Temple College. Founded in 1990, what began as a collaboration of traditional music students and adult musicians from the area has become the premier jazz ensemble in central Texas. TJO now boasts the best professional jazz musicians and educators from an area surrounding Temple, including musicians from Waco, Belton, Austin, Brownwood, Rockdale, among other communities. All are devoted to jazz education and performance, and in addition to performing regularly with the Temple Jazz Orchestra, they frequently provide clinics and judge jazz festivals. Many TJO musicians also direct other bands and perform professionally with their own bands throughout central Texas.
The Temple Jazz Orchestra, its members, and/or small ensembles that have spun off of the group have received recognition at nationally known jazz festivals including the UNC Greeley Jazz Festival, the Loyola University (New Orleans) Jazz Festival, the Sam Houston State Jazz Festival and others.
The featured band at the final concert of the Temple Jazz Festival for the past 18 years, TJO has performed with Randy Brecker, Marvin Stamm, Bob Mintzer, Russel Ferrante, Eric Marienthal, Allen Vizzuti, Bill Watrous, John Fedchock, Conrad Herwig, Brian Lynch, Kevin Mahogany, Gary Foster, Ernie Watts, Lew Soloff, Frank Mantooth, Wayne Bergeron, Ed Shaughnessy, and Gordon Goodwin. TJO has also shared the stage on several occasions with the Temple Symphony Orchestra.
In 2009, TJO was invited to perform at the North Sea, Montreux, and Jazz a Vienne jazz festivals, as well as the Beaujolais Festival in Glieze, France, and a special performance at the July 4th Celebration at the United States Mission to the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland. TJO has also performed at the International Association for Jazz Education’s Annual Conference in New York City, the IAJE Southwest Regional conference at Baylor University, and a feature concert with Bill Watrous at the Texas Bandmasters Convention in San Antonio, Texas.
The Temple Jazz Orchestra released its first compact disc recording “Soft Lights and Sweet Music, Live” to critical acclaim in the spring of 2001, featuring the works of various composers. The Temple Jazz Orchestra’s second CD “Bill Watrous Live with the Temple Jazz Orchestra” was released on October 3rd of 2004, and in 2006, TJO released its third CD, “This is TJO,” a collection of terrific original compositions and arrangements by band members and friends.
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