Hard-charging. Powerful. Immersed in the history of their craft and in total command of their instruments. That's The DIVA Jazz Orchestra - an ensemble of 15 extremely talented and versatile musicians who just happen to be women. They can't help it - they were born that way.
Headed by swinging drummer Sherrie Maricle, DIVA exudes the excitement and force found in the tradition of the historic big bands but with an eye towards today's progressive sound of originality and verve. With New York as their home base, DIVA performs all over the world playing contemporary, mainstream big band jazz composed and arranged to fit the individual personalities and styles of the musicians themselves. Audiences can expect to hear high-energy performances packed with unique improvisation, spontaneity and fun.
The inspiration for DIVA came from Stanley Kay, one-time manager and relief drummer for Buddy Rich. In 1990, Kay was conducting a band in which Sherrie Maricle was playing the drums. Stanley immediately picked up on her extraordinary talent and began to wonder if there were other women players who could perform at the same level. The search was on and through nationwide auditions, the foundation for The DIVA Jazz Orchestra was poured in 1992 and what emerged is the dynamic musical force that holds forth to the present day.
In 2006, DIVA was voted one of the best big bands in the world in both DownBeat magazine's annual Critic's and Reader's Polls. To fully grasp how wide the appeal is of this incredibly gifted ensemble, one has only to read the catalog of prestigious venues in which the band has performed, worldwide. In fact, it's almost easier to ask the question: Where haven''t they played? Here is but a partial list: Carnegie Hall with the New York Pops Orchestra, John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, DC, Verizon Jazz Festival at Lincoln Center, Blue Note, Dizzy's Club Coca-Cola at Jazz at Lincoln Center, Birdland and the Apollo Theater in New York. Add to that the Jazz Showcase in Chicago, Manchester Craftsmen''s Guild in Pittsburgh, and Symphony Halls in St. Louis, Philadelphia and Cleveland, plus the Playboy Jazz Festival at the Hollywood Bowl and Cinegrill in Hollywood. International appearances include Le Meridien Hotel in Paris, France; Teatro de Sistina in Rome, Italy; Berlin Jazz Festival in Germany; Salzburg Music Festival in Austria; Bern Jazz Festival in Switzerland; Montreal and Ottawa International Jazz Festivals in Canada; Bogota International Jazz Festival in Colombia; Jamaica Jazz Festival; Zagreb Jazz Festival in Croatia; and the Pori Jazz Festival in Finland. Sherrie Maricle & the DIVA Jazz Orchestra
As if the list of settings at which DIVA has performed isn't impressive enough, they have also shared the stage with Nancy Wilson, Joe Williams, Diane Schuur, Carmen Bradford, Marlena Shaw, Dee Daniels, Maurice Hines, DeeDee Bridgewater, Rosemary Clooney, Ann Hampton Callaway, Jack Jones, Clark Terry, Dr. Billy Taylor, Terry Gibbs, Tommy Newsom, Randy Brecker and Dave Brubeck.
The band has also made numerous television appearances highlighted by multiple feature slots on CNN''s Arts Break plus a feature segment on the network television program "CBS Sunday Morning," a spotlighted segment as part of The Kennedy Center's 25th Anniversary Special and a critically acclaimed feature on the Japanese television NHK network.
DIVA proudly boasts of a very impressive series of recordings, most recent of which is the critically-acclaimed Johnny Mandel: The Man and his Music, recorded live at Dizzy's Club Coca-Cola and conducted by Mandel himself. Other DIVA recordings include Live From Jazz at Lincoln Center's Dizzy's Club Coca-Cola, featuring supremely swinging vocalist Carmen Bradford (2008); TNT - Tommy Newsom Tribute, a compilation of charts the late Mr. Newsom arranged exclusively for DIVA (2005); Live in Concert (2002); I Believe in You (1999); Leave It To DIVA (1997); and Something's Coming (1995). Visit the "Sounds" page for track lists, audio samples, and to order.
Whether live or via recording, The DIVA Jazz Orchestra always guarantees an evening of spirited and exciting entertainment that leaves the audience on its feet pleading for more.
Sherrie Maricle (drums), Noriko Ueda (bass) and Tomoko Ohno (piano) are the heartbeat of The DIVA Jazz Orchestra and FIVE PLAY. As The DIVA Jazz Trio, they take their multiple musical powers to extraordinary new levels of swing, sophistication and originality.
After 10+ years of playing together, the trio shares not only a deep intuition for each other's musical inclinations but also a compelling, powerful and unified creative vision, fueled by mutual admiration and respect. This triple treat of talent has melded their individual skills into a fresh, exciting trio infused with imagination, rooted in jazz tradition and unified by a collective inspiration and passion to make exceptional music for our listeners.
The DIVA Jazz Trio's repertoire is comprised of innovative arrangements of classic and contemporary standards, as well as original music composed by Sherrie, Noriko and Tomoko. The trio's compositions and arrangements are conceived to highlight the unique style of each player and also support the distinctive sound of the ensemble.
The DIVA Jazz Trio was officially born in 2005 and has been blessed to perform at many of the world's most prestigious concert halls, music festivals, jazz clubs and universities including Carnegie Hall, The Kennedy Center, Lincoln Center and major venues throughout Spain, Germany, Portugal, Ireland and Switzerland. In June of 2009 the trio was given the honor of being featured on Marian McPartland's world renowned National Public Radio Show Piano Jazz.
The DIVA Jazz Trio's premier recording, Never, Never Land (Arbors Records), was released in the Fall of 2009.
FIVE PLAY is a virtual United Nations of Jazz, fusing world cultures with extraordinary musicianship and a shared creative vision. This synthesis of talent, passion and global sensibility has produced a fresh, exciting quintet infused with imagination, rooted in jazz tradition and unified by a collective inspiration. FIVE PLAY's repertoire is comprised of innovative arrangements of classic and contemporary standards, as well as original music composed by the band's members. The group's library was conceived to highlight the distinctive styles of the individual musicians and also support the unique sound of the ensemble.
In keeping with a time-honored Big Band practice, FIVE PLAY was created from the world renowned DIVA Jazz Orchestra as a means to feature some of its foremost players. The quintet was formed in January of 1999 and has performed at many of the most prestigious concert halls, music festivals, universities and jazz clubs in the United States, including Carnegie Hall and The Kennedy Center. The group has also performed at major festivals in Israel, France, Spain and Portugal. In 2004 the quintet and its members were highly ranked in Downbeat Magazine's Annual Reader's Poll.
Five Play's premier recording, On the Brink (Arbors Records), was voted #1 by Nat Hentoff in Jazz Times' 1999 Year in Review issue. Their follow-up release, Five Play...Plus (Arbors Records), was voted one of the Top 10 CDs of 2005 by Coda Magazine. The group's newest recording, What The World Needs Now, was released in the Fall of 2008.