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We're laying low during COVID-19 and we wish you all good health. We will let you know when we can share more music live with you.


Meanwhile, please enjoy this video of "You Don't Know What Love Is" arranged by Walt Gwardyak and recorded on March 31, 2019.


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NEJE Events

Previous events


CD Release Concert - Peter & the Wolf

CD Release Concert - Kingswood Oxford School, 170 Kingswood Street, West Hartford, CT

New England Jazz Ensemble Celebrates CD Release of Peter and the Wolf with Concert on October 25

Called “the Definitive Jazz Rendition” of Prokofiev Classic,

Recording Marks the Ensemble’s Sixth CD

Release Bloomfield, CT - The New England Jazz Ensemble announced today that it will perform a CD release concert of the big band’s reinterpretation of Prokofiev’s iconic Peter and the Wolf on Thursday October 25, in West Hartford, Connecticut. The concert begins at 7:30pm, at the Roberts Theater Center, which is located on the grounds of the Kingswood Oxford School (170 Kingswood Street). Tickets are general admission for $10 and will be available at the door on the evening of the concert.

NEJE’s Capstone Jazz Project Creative Approach
Conceived several years ago and released in April of this year, the jazz Peter and the Wolf project was born on the heels of the group’s success with recording and performing the Duke Ellington/Billy Strayhorn version of Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker. The main difference between the two projects is that Peter and the Wolf features the band’s own completely reimagined version of the full Prokofiev score, by arranger and NEJE music director and pianist Walter Gwardyak. It is the first big-band version of Peter and the Wolf in more than 50 years, and the first-ever with an original “hip” libretto, which was created and is narrated by vocalist Giacomo Gates.

Using over a dozen jazz styles to convey the 36-minute story, Gwardyak recruits various sections of the jazz ensemble or individual instruments to represent the story’s characters. 

Whereas most incarnations of the work stick to the original script, the NEJE has taken another leap of creativity, engaging internationally-known jazz vocalist Giacomo Gates to create a hipster version of the narrative, which he delivers most captivatingly. The jazz version is true to the goals of the original work but also provides ample opportunity for the group’s capable
soloists to improvise and expand the personality of each character. The result is an engaging rendition, steeped in jazz excellence and traditions while simultaneously appealing to the novice listener.

To round out the CD, NEJE commissioned composer/arrangers John Mastroianni and Jeff Holmes to create new works inspired by the story of Peter and the Wolf. The results are four highly original and diverse works that showcase the exceptional compositional and performing talents of NEJE’s members. As Bea Willis wrote in 5FingerReview- “What makes this version so special, is the leap forward into the under-charted territory of jazz, adding the imagination of
Gates and the mastery of the Gwardyak’s arranging skills and the compositional acumen of Jeff Holmes and John Mastroianni, this might become the definitive jazz rendition that others look to in the coming years.”

Musical Mission

Founded in 1991, not-for-profit New England Jazz Ensemble is a large jazz orchestra comprising regionally based artists. The group features original and contemporary jazz arrangements and compositions. Much of the band’s material is generated by the ensemble’s members. It is a performance group as well as a composer’s forum. The goals of the New England Jazz Ensemble are:

-To perpetuate the uniquely American large jazz ensemble as an art medium
-To encourage the writing of new work for large jazz ensemble
-To reach culturally diverse audiences and to educate the public about jazz
-To share the band’s wealth of expertise with the public in the form of concerts,
educational forums and programs, guest performances and recordings
-To support the opportunities for professional jazz artists to be employed in their specific
areas of expertise to maintain the integrity of the jazz community in our region.


The New England Jazz Ensemble is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization.
For more information, press only:
Steven Bulmer, President
(860) 965-6507
For more information on the ensemble:




Canton High School Auditorium, 76 Simonds Ave., Cantong, CT

Duke Elington's NUTCRACKER SUITE performed by the New England Jazz Ensemble and Farmington Dance and Center for the Arts.


NEJE Peter and the Wolf

FIRST NIGHT HARTFORD - NEJE Peter and the Wolf, Downtown Hartford, Hartford, Connecticut


FIRST NIGHT - Hartford, CT 2016

Downtown, Hartford

December 31, 2015

Wadsworth Atheneum Aetna Theatre

3:15pm - 4:00pm


4:15pm - 5:00pm

NEJE will be performing 

PETER & THE WOLF for two shows during Hartford's FIRST NIGHT celebration. Come hear us and enjoy all of the family activities that day!



New England Jazz Ensemble

Infinity Hall, 32 Front Street, Hartford, CT

The New England Jazz Ensemble is coming back to our Hartford stage to present their seasonal repertoire chuck full of beautiful/original compositions and Holiday favorites. 



NEJE Peter and the Wolf

Conard High School, 110 Beechwood Road, West Hartford, CT

Presented in cooperation with the West Hartford Shools Arts Department, the concert features a sixteen-piece big band directed by Walter Gwardyak in a prgram that will include the premiere of Gwardyak's jazz version of Prokofiev's PETER AND THE WOLF, narrated by jazz singer GIacomo Gates. ALso on the program will be other jazz tunes inspired by the Prokofiev melodies.

In addition, Walt Gwardyak, Jeff Holmes and John Mastroiani will be providing jazz mentoring for 3 of West Hartford school system's jazz ensembles as part of NEJE program with them. Each one will take a rotation with the 3 selected jazz ensembles to provide mentoring and emphasis in each area of expertise: Rythm Section, Brass Section(s), Saxophone/Woodwind section.


Free to the Public


NEJE Plays Peter & the Wolf w/Wallingford Symphony Orchestra

The Hotchkiss School, Katherine M. Elfers Hall, 11 Interlaken Road, Salisbury, CT

Arranged by Walter Gwardyak, conducted by Jeff Holmes, with Giacomo Gates narrating, the New England Jazz Ensemble will perform their jazz version of PETER AND THE WOLF. The Wallingford Symphony Orchestra will perform the traditional version by Prokofiev followed by the NEJE Jazz version.


Admission is FREE



Help us promote jazz education, orignal works and performances in New England and beyond. NEJE is a 501(c)(3) non-profit and relies on the generosity of public support.