Joel Kaye, MMJO Conductor
Joel began his journey into Jazz and the world of Big Bands by terminating his studies after one semester at the Eastman School of Music and returning to his home in NYC. It didn't take long before he won an audition for the Billy May Band and went on the road for the next 6 months. He was then recommended to the Ralph Marterie Orch. and joined them on tour where he spent the next 6 months. An opportunity to join the Woody Herman Orch. came along and Joel found himself a member of that band before his 20th birthday. After a stint with Woody's band he moved on to work with the Tommy Dorsey Orch. And the Jimmy Dorsey Orch. which had him back in NYC in the fall of 61. This is when he got a call to join the Stan Kenton Orchestra and stay there until the end of 1963. The Kenton band broke up and Joel returned to NYC to begin his career as a NY studio player and Broadway musician. It was during this time that he began his studies with Johnny Richards. A few years after John's death, Joel started THE NEW YORK NEOPHONIC ORCHESTRA and played concerts around NYC and recorded 4 albums over the next 15 years. Upon seeing the decline of the music business Joel relocated to Denver, CO to pursue some other interests. It was here that Joel created THE NEOPHONIC JAZZ ORCHESTRA and played Monday nights at Vartan's jazz club for 7 years. During this time the band recorded 2 CDs for the "LIVE AT VARTAN'S JAZZ" series. Also , Joel began going out to Los Angeles to conduct the music of Johnny Richards & Stan Kenton for the LOS ANGELES JAZZ INSTITUTE . THE KENTON ALUMNI BAND began to tour and record concerts too , and Joel became part of this organization as well. He contributed compositions & arrangements of Johnny Richards as well as some of his own. It was on one of the Kenton Alumni tours that Joel crossed paths with Rand Moore. Although they didn't meet at this time, Rand's idea of creating a band that could play some music of Johnny Richards lead him to ask Kenton drummer Gary Hobbs how he could accomplish that. Hobbs directed Rand to Joel. Rand eventually called Joel to try to put his dream into action. Together they created THE MADISON MELLOPHONIUM JAZZ ORCHESTRA.