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The Heritage Orchestra

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THE HERITAGE ORCHESTRA was initially devised for the Heritage club-night by Chris Wheeler & Jules Buckley. In June 2004 it was the biggest band ever to play in a UK club, with twelve string players; an eight-piece rhythm section; six brass; a woodwind section of six; and three vocalists. In its current state it performs with at least 43 musicians on stage.

On Thursday 3rd June 2004 The Heritage Orchestra performed for the first time, attracting 600 people into Cargo; one of the few venues that could technically deal with the band. Yet it was more than just a spectacle; Buckley’s original cinematic jazz/funk compositions and stunning orchestrations surpassed any expectations and left the audience awestruck. The first gig was followed by a sell-out concert at St.Luke’s in London; a collaboration with The Heritage Orchestra, Brian Eno and the Royal College of Arts.

C ollaboration was the next step to push the band forward, and what better artist to reinterpret than Chris Bowden (Ninja Tune, Soul Jazz), who has been featuring with the band since November 29th 2004. This exciting project brought out the orchestra’s flare for alternative big band jazz, and in the space of 10 days a selection of tracks from Bowden’s back catalogue (Time Capsule, Slightly Askew) was masterfully orchestrated by Jules Buckley. Word from the heaving crowd soon spread and prompted an invite to record a session for Gilles Peterson’s Worldwide show on BBC Radio One, broadcast on Sunday 27th March 2005.

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