One of the premiere large jazz ensembles in Denmark, the Danish Radio Big Band (aka DR Big Band) is a dynamic ensemble with a sophisticated approach to post-bop jazz and swing. Although a spotlight organization in their own right with a roster of top Danish musicians, they have built a strong reputation for their many collaborations and recordings with world-renowned jazz soloists. Founded as the New Radio Dance Orchestra in 1964 by bandleader Ib Glindemann, the DR Big Band was initially an outgrowth of the then-Danish Broadcasting Corporation Danmarks Radio's desire to represent jazz in the country and over the airwaves. Since 2009, the band has been based out of the Danish Broadcast Corporation's Copenhagen complex DR Byen, or "DR City," along with several other nationally funded arts ensembles.
As a recording outfit, the DR Big Band debuted in 1970 with Brownsville Trolley, which featured the band led by saxophonist/composer Ray Pitts and trumpeter Palle Mikkelborg. However, the band's output increased throughout the decade under the leadership of famed trumpeter Thad Jones, who had relocated to Copenhagen. During this period, they delivered such well-regarded albums as 1978's By Jones, I Think We've Got It, and 1979's A Good Time Was Had by All. There were also numerous live performances during the band's first three decades, including dates with such luminaries as Stan Kenton, Dizzy Gillespie, Clark Terry, Jimmy Heath, Freddie Hubbard, and many more.
More albums followed in the '90s and found the band starting to showcase artists like saxophonist and guest conductor Ernie Wilkins (Suite for Jazz Band) and Danish saxophonist Jesper Thilo. They also released albums paying homage to the music of Jones and Duke Ellington. This trend of showcasing an artist and their work continued over the next decade as the band played with such luminaries as Thomas Clausen, Toots Thielemans, Renee Rosnes, Eivor Palsdottir, Jim McNeely, and others.