The Montclair Women's Big Band was founded in 1997 by veteran trumpeter and bandleader Ellen Seeling, with producer Barbara Price. With a vivid cast of some of the best jazzwomen in the San Francisco Bay Area, the MWBB combines an audacious sense of swing, tight ensemble work, and inspired solos. All About Jazz claims "the Montclair Women's Big Band is one of the most formidable jazz ensembles on the West Coast....this is premium-grade big band jazz, rigorously blended for high mileage and maximum pleasure."
The MWBB cemented its status as a world-class ensemble with the release of its self-named debut CD, which was recorded at George Lucas's state-of-the-art Skywalker Sound in Marin County. Engineered by three-time Grammy winner Leslie Ann Jones, the studio's legendary scoring department manager, the recording has become a best-seller on CDBaby. Jazziz Magazine labeled the recording "a blues-drenched gem that swings with dazzling aplomb."
Seeling is a pioneering trumpeter who was the first woman to graduate with a degree from Indiana University's prestigious Jazz Studies Program. By the late 1970s she was well established on the New York scene as an eminently versatile player who moved seamlessly among gigs with top rock, salsa, R&B, and disco acts, and has earned three platinum RIAA record awards among her 30+ album credits. It was while performing with the progressive women's rock band Isis that she met Jean Fineberg, who became her inseparable collaborator, and currently serves as the big band's solo tenor and assistant director.
In its eighteen years, the MWBB has gained visibility through a series of high-profile gigs. The band performed for the Grammy Foundation in LA to a sold-out event "Mavericks in Music: Celebrating the Contributions of Trailblazing Women." Major festivals have also come calling, with gigs at Washington DC's Kennedy Center, the San Francisco Jazz Festival, the San Jose Jazz Festival, among others. A favorite ensemble among social and political organizations, the band has performed for Hillary Clinton, Ron Dellums, the Human Rights Campaign, Girls Inc., and the Eden Medical Foundation. The group has also been featured on Marian McPartland's "Piano Jazz," NPR's most popular syndicated show.
“The record of the Montclair Women’s Big Band is very impressive! It makes me very proud to know that there are so many wonderful women players out there. I would love to have you as a guest on Piano Jazz.”