The vocal side of Thad Jones

The new recording by the Vintage Orchestra takes on quite a rare repertoire : the vocal music composed by the great trumpet player and composer Thad Jones. The instrumental music composed and arranged for his own big band is known all over the world and has been recorded and played by so many different bands, but Jones’ arrangements for a lead singer from 1965 to 1968 have never been recorded since, nor have the music charts been edited. In order to play this music we asked Dominique Mandin, Stéphane Guillaume, François Biensan, Jon Boutellier and Erick Poirier to make transcriptions, not to copy the originals but mostly to create new interpretations of this repertoire for a band which has been working on Thad Jones’ music for the last 15 years. Denise King, internationally acclaimed American singer, and Walter Ricci, a very talented young singer, are the ideal voices for this laid aside repertoire, supported by the Vintage Orchestra.This new international project by The Vintage Orchestra is both daring and unexpected. The new CD release and tour are planned for 2017.


2017 « Smack Dab in The Middle »
Gaya Music

2006 « Grands Formats »
Compilation, Le Chant du Monde

2005 « Weatherman »
Jazz aux Remparts

2004 « Thad » Nocturne


The Band

Saxophones: Dominique Mandin / Olivier Zanot / Thomas Savy / David Sauzay /
Jean-François Devèze

Trumpets: Erick Poirier / Lorenz Rainer / Fabien Mary / Julien Ecrepont

Trombones: Michael Ballue, Bastien Ballaz, Jerry Edwards, Martin Berlugue

Piano: Florent Gac

Bass: Yoni Zelnik

Drums: Andrea Michelutti

Guest vocalists Denise King & Walter Ricci

Artists aren’t made, they are born; born with an innate sense of wonder and a unique perspective of the world. Denise King is no exception. Always having a love of music, it wasn’t until the age of thirteen that she was introduced to Jazz by an uncle, Herbert Tatum, who had an extensive collection of Jazz LPs. This love was further cultivated by family, when a cousin Cynthia, shared her passion for the stylings and energy of Nina Simone. Her “studies” involved hours of listening to the Jazz greats, both vocalists and instrumentalists. Denise borrowed phrasing styles from Sarah Vaughan, Ella Fitzgerald, Nat “King” Cole and Frank Sinatra. She gained an appreciation for lyrics from Lil Jimmy Scott, Nancy Wilson, Carmen McCrae and Nina Simone. Listening as intensely to Jazz as she did R&B or music of her era, she had no idea that her listening sessions were preparing her for a career in music. She was “discovered” by a friend who heard her singing outside of her home in Philadelphia and introduced her to the world of Jazz performance. The early gigs were difficult in that she was painfully stage shy. But with the help of Sam Reed, sax man and leader of the legendary Uptown Theater Orchestra she overcame her stage fright. Her early performance experiences involved sharing the stage with many legends, Butch Ballard, Arthur Harper, Sam Dougherty, Cecil Payne, Jymie Merritt, Bootsie Barnes, Lex Humphries,Phil Wright, Christian McBride, Dexter Wansel, Duane Eubanks, Lonnie Plaxico, Sid Simmons, Dr. Guy Ramsey, Derrick Hodge, Chris Beck, Billy Paul, and many, many more. They taught her the importance of having something to say every time she stepped up to the microphone and also stressed the importance of telling a story through the words and music and not just singing the song. Their instruction paid off. One night while performing at Zanzibar Blue in Philadelphia, Denise met Dexter Wansel, writer,arranger, producer, and A&R director at Philadelphia International Records. That meeting would forge a work relationship that has spanned twenty years. Denise King has sung at almost all of the top venues in Philadelphia, several in New York, Paris, Turkey, Brazil, Africa, Germany and Japan during the past 25 years. She started her musical career in her thirties and has proclaimed herself a torch bearer. A keeper of the flame. She holds the preservation and presentation of the traditional style of Jazz singing close to her heart. No gimmicks, no pyrotechnics, just an intense focus on the melody and the lyrical content. It is this philosophy that finds her in Paris, Milan, Israel and all points in between acting as the Ambassador-ess for the nostalgic sounds of Jazz. From her warm and welcoming presence on stage, the subtle nuance of a bygone days, and the recordings that speak to the natural elegance of an era that greatly influenced her life, Denise Kings is keeping the romance and nostalgia of all the great ladies of Jazz alive and well.

Born in December 8, 1989, Walter Ricci is an Italian jazz artist from Naples, who already began experimenting with music of many genres as a teenager. He conducted his vocational education privately , under the guide of  many leaders of the music field. With his strong vocal skills and big passion for jazz he got the opportunity to collaborate with big personalities such as Mario Biondi, Jerry Weldon, Hemet Cohen, Gregory Hutchinson and many others. In 2006 Walter Ricci won the Italian national award  “Premio Nazionale Massimo Urbani”. In 2008 he met Stefano Di Battista, an Italian saxophonist, who played as a guest star at his tour in Italy, France, Spain and Switzerland. Ricci has participated in a lot of different jazz festivals both in Italy and abroad, among some of them are: Umbria Jazz, Terni Jazz Festival, Peperoncino Jazz Festival, L’Ajaccio Jazz (Corsica), Jazz à la Coste (Malaga). In the same year he featured on Lorenzo Tucci’s1 album TOUCH distributed from Schema Record in Japan. In 2009 Ricci met the famous Italian TV host Pippo Baudo, who invited him as a guest on his TV show Domenica In that was aired on Rai 1. There he had the chance to sing with Michael Buble. In 2010 he collaborated with Guido Pistocchi2 on his album SPRING TIME distributed by Dejavu Record. One of the latest works he’s featured on is The Door is Still Open to My Heart, a duet by Mario Biondi from his Album Due. Ricci also joined Biondi’s Tour. Another of his last creative innovations is surely the The Cole Porter Songbook collaboration with Daniele Scannapieco3. In 2012 the singer performed as a guest with the Luca Santaniello quartet at Dizzy’s Club Coca Cola in Lincoln Center, New York. In 2015 he performed at the prestigious “Thelenious Monk Istitute of Jazz” in Los Angeles. Despite his young age and young music career he has gained a lot of success and is currently doing performances with his quartet and besides that he has many other projects around the world.

VO Big Band

The Vintage Orchestra came into being at the beginning of the 2000’s

Born from the desire of a group of musicians to enrich their work within a large jazz ensemble, it didn’t take long for this orchestra to be identified as the best phalanx of its kind on the French scene. This success stems not only from the individual quality of each of the orchestra members, all very active on the current jazz scene and acknowledged as references in their field, but also on the spirit that unites them, that of the common goal that they are endlessly revisiting: the balance of a large group at the core of which multiple abilities can find their place and flourish.

Each member of the orchestra is both at the service of the whole group and of the music: the quality of each one’s work depends on the work of the others, and so does the final result; the artists express themselves without leaving space for the ego. The Vintage Orchestra’s strength is based on this incompressible axiom of cohesion, regardless of whether the score is in the creative domain or in the repertoire.
The orchestra soloists, many of whom are musical directors of their own projects, find an ideal frame for their improvisation and the expression of their diverse personalities in the supple and reactive rhythm section. There is no place here for stylistic orthodoxy despite the reality of a shared culture, that of a multiple and polychromic jazz which by tradition is turned towards investigation and modernity; a concert is a series of decisions taken in interaction. The uniqueness of each performance is thus guaranteed, for the audience’s delight, as it witnesses the process of the music evolving in real time before their very eyes.

Press reviews

« They have the passion of modern big bands. The cult of arrangers, the taste for highly developed scores, the strive towards perfection, the sense of solos. And of course, the pleasure, the main drive in their collective desire to bring this orchestra into existence […].

Three years ago, the Vintage Orchestra was born through the motivation of its members. Some are reference points at the music stand; others are formidable improvisers at the clubs. Together, they make up an ensemble of rare qualities. Their first album, consecrated to Thad Jones, besides being a love declaration to one of the great writers of the 60’s, is also a proof of mastery, a great example of their abilities.»

Vincent Bessières, Jazzman.

«Taking some of the best scores written by Thad Jones for one of the best big bands of his time, “The Jazz Orchestra”, which the trumpet player co-directed from 1966 to 1979 with the great drummer Mel Lewis, and bringing them back to life, is a rich idea. One finds, as expected, that Thad’s arrangements and compositions, abundant in originality and filled with marvelous findings, seem impervious to the ravages of passing time. They sound today, through the enthusiastic interpretation of the Vintage Orchestra’s young musicians, as if they had happened just yesterday or tomorrow morning…»

Claude Carrière

« Thad Jones is the hero in this Thad that the skilled Vintage Orchestra have honed up, having in its midst many soloists that have their own successful projects as leaders (the trumpet player Fabian Mary, for example) in its midst. All Vintage Orchestra’s art lies in its balancing the fidelity to the original scores with its own experience. And all the art of the ensemble is to have succeed in this masterfully […]At a moment when the boxes at the last record shops brim over with badly rigged out “personal compositional projects”, recordings such Thad stand out unavoidably. »

Sylvain Siclier, Le Monde.

« The orchestra lives up to our expectations: soloists and sections offer a highly strung precise and imaginative interpretation. A success in its style. »

Patrick Pommier, Jazz Magazine.

«To have chosen Thad Jones’ music as the subject of this record is an initiative that cannot be praised enough, and the artisans of this slightly crazy project, Dominique Mandin and the Vintage Orchestra, must be congratulated […] Thad Jones’ arrangements are very well served –without being identical, of course- by impeccable soloists.»

Alain Tercinet, Jazzman.

« Thad Jones’ arrangements seem newly born in the sunlight of the brass section, the rhythm swings, the soloists are amazing. »


Upcoming concerts

The band performs at the Sunset/Sunside club
once a month since February 2015

2017: June 8 – Studio de l’Ermitage (75)
Album Release Concert

October 17 – Jazz à Eaubonne (95)

October 25 – Concert at Café de la Danse Paris – 8 pm

December 20 –Concert at New Morning Paris  – 9 pm

Contact us

© 2017 Vintage Orchestra | Tous droits réservés

Made with  by creative eeden

Crédits photos & vidéo – Pauline Pénicaud
Crédit photo Denise King- Paul Evrard
Crédit photo Walter Ricci – Ph.Andrea Boccalini
Crédits photos Big Band – Daniel Margreth