The Monika Roscher Big Band was born during a study seminar at the Musikhochschule München. An original composition for big-band earned the 1984-born jazz guitarist so much praise from all sides that she decided to continue on this path. Together with friends and fellow students, who form the core of the cast today, Monika's graduation concert in the summer of 2010 was converted into the first celebrated public appearance of her big band. From then on things went fast. As soon as the bandleader had left the backstage area, the producer Philipp Winter, who was in the audience, offered to record a CD. With the result, the band applied for a scholarship to the City of Munich and was promptly rewarded with a music scholarship from Bavarias capital. At this time, the band is existing only since half a year.
Enough time to break with just about any listener expectation tied to a classic big-band line-up. Those who expect traditional swing à la Count Basie and Duke Ellington are completely wrong. Although the compositions are related to jazz, in terms of spacious harmony and extended solo parts, the special attention to - sometimes cinematic - sound textures and the colorful, emotionally directly accessible pictorial shows a tight intellectual closeness to the contemporary music scene of indie, electro and triphop. This sounds rather "dangerous" - at least that's what an enthusiastic Monday demo jury at Radio Zundfünk thought, which Thees Uhlmann also belonged to. The usually German-speaking Tomte boss was even tempted to shout out "this shit is berserk!".
In December 2012, the band celebrated the release of their official debut album "Failure in Wonderland" at the Atomic Café, the indie temple of Munich. The CD was released by the jazz label Enja. Since then, the waves beat higher and higher - Zeit Online, Süddeutsche Zeitung, Stern, Deutschlandradio Kultur, Le Monde, the Jazzzeitung with a cover story, or the US Downbeat - oldest and biggest jazz magazine in the world - were enthusiastic about the album and about the idea of an indie big band.
In 2013, the band toured all over Germany and beyond. Highlights included performances at the Fusion Festival, which is already enjoying cult status throughout Europe, a double concert at the international South Tyrolean Jazz Festival and the final concert of the Berliner Jazzfest broadcast live on the radio, where the band shared the stage with jazz legend John Scofield. The Frankfurter Allgemeine spoke of an "incredible performance level" of the young musicians and the "surprise of the season".
In 2014, the band is awarded the Echo Jazz as "Newcomer of the Year National", a music scholarship of the city of Munich and the Bavarian Art Prize. Downbeat listed them as "Rising Stars" in his annual review of the critics.
Just one of many opinions:
"Together with her magnificent crew the guitarist and singer Monika Roscher played an unconventional "Bigband" sound with a cutting wind set and Leonard Kuhn's concise electronically generated sounds; a completely successful sound experiment of indie-pop, rock and improvisation. The audience applauded the ensemble with standing ovations at the end of the concert. "
Jazzzeitung, August 29, 2017, Thomas J. Krebs for the concert in the Elbphilharmonie in Hamburg.
Now, (this is for the insiders): With this Big Band LineUp we will make our Gunnar sweat heavily:
Julian Schunter: Alto
Jan Kiesewetter: Alto, soprano
Jasmin Gundermann: Tenor
Michael Schreiber: Tenor
Heiko Giering: Bass Cl, Bari Sax
Leonhard Kuhn: Electronic Sounds
Josef Ressle: Piano
Ferdinand Roscher: Bass
Silvan Strauss: Drums