The Evolution Big Band performs modern arrangements of popular jazz standards and today’s contemporary big band music for concert and dance venues in support of charitable causes.
Founded in 2004 as the Stardust Orchestra, the all-volunteer organization includes some of the top jazz musicians in the Lowcountry who are committed to keeping big band music alive, relevant and contemporary. With a library of more than 3,000 arrangements spanning a wide range of jazz styles, the band features songs made popular by Glenn Miller, Frank Sinatra, Count Basie, and upbeat arrangements popularized by the Tonight Show Orchestra, Buddy Rich, Michael Buble' and Nat “King” Cole, among others.
As big band music styles have evolved over the years, the musical repertoire of the band has changed accordingly. The band changed its name to the Evolution Big Band in 2017 to reflect the changing nature of its music.
As an all-volunteer organization, band members receive no pay. The group frequently performs at churches and other local venues where freewill offerings are taken that flow directly to worthy charities. The band has performed in support of local charitable endeavors such as the Program for Exceptional People and the Sun City Lions Club, and Family Promise, among others. Through playing at fundraisers and donations from the band itself, the Evolution Big Band has helped non-profit organizations in the Lowcountry raise more than $180,000 to support their worthy causes.
The band suspended rehearsals and performances in March 2020 due to COVID-19. Rehearsals restarted in January 2021, and fundraising concerts will begin again once venues are permitted to host larger audiences. Jeff Shawd, Executive Director of the Evolution Big Band noted, “the band welcomes talented jazz musicians who are able to share their time and talents on a weekly basis to audition and support the mission of the band.”