Composer, Arranger, Orchestrator, Conductor, Musical Director
The Daryl McKenzie Jazz Orchestra is an Australian cultural icon, bringing together Melbourne’s most exceptional instrumentalists to perform original jazz music as well as accompany some of the country’s finest local and international performances across multiple genres and mediums.
The DMJO is a hugely important part of Australian music history. The ensemble began in the 1980’s as the Graeme Lyall Orchestra and the Australian Showband. It was in the 1990’s however that the orchestra began to hit its stride as the band for the iconic Australian TV show ‘Hey Hey its Saturday’, under the leadership of musical director, trombonist, composer and arranger Daryl McKenzie. Since this time, the orchestra has continued to diversify and broaden its audience to include the jazz-going public as well as commercial and corporate contexts.
The DMJO’s experience with international artists is unparalleled in Australian music. They have backed artists as significant as Tom Jones, Joe Cocker, Barry Manilow, Bonnie Raitt, Tommy Emmanuel and Billy Thorpe.
Just as importantly, they have sustained long working relationships with some of Australia’s finest performers over the past 20 years. Such artists include Wilbur Wilde, Rhonda Burchmore, Grace Knight and Nichaud Fitzgibbon. They have performed with countless other artists from across the country and the world.
They have performed at various jazz festivals, including in the USA and Malaysia, and major Australian events such as the Melbourne and Adelaide Grand Prix. They have also held a 17-year monthly residency at The Apartment/ Paris Cat Jazz Club, performing original Australian jazz compositions, often by band members including McKenzie, as well as international works.
The DMJO has recorded five critically acclaimed albums of original music, and also recorded sections of the soundtracks for iconic Australian films such as Bran Nue Dae, Two Hands and Love and Other Catastrophes. Members of the band under Daryl’s direction have also provided music for TV series Australia’s Got Talent, the Good Friday Appeal and Dancing With The Stars.
The DMJO is musically adaptable, able to perform original music, big band works from the standard American repertoire, and arrangements in countless other genres for artists big and small. They perform as an eight—piece band, right up to fifty piece-orchestra if needed. Contact Daryl for further information about ensemble options and pricing.