Inspired by the noble jazz pioneers Louis Armstrong, Bix Beiderbecke, Duke Ellington, Jelly Roll Morton and their colleagues, David Ostwald’s Gully Low Jazz Band breathes life and passion into America’s own great art form.
Since 1980, this acoustically electrifying group has appeared nationally and internationally in varied settings - currently in the tenth year of its open-ended weekly Wednesday evening engagement at New York City's Birdland, at Lincoln Center's Midsummer's Night Swing, at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, at Jazz in July at the 92nd Street Y, at Lionel Hampton's New Orleans-style funeral procession, and at four appearances since 2001 at Scotland's Nairn International Jazz Festival. The band's guest musicians have included Wynton Marsalis, Dick Hyman, Jon Hendricks, Clark Terry, Jon Faddis, and blues great Big Joe Turner, whose recording with the band, one of five it has made, was nominated for a Grammy Award in 1986.
In addition, the Gully Low Jazz Band strongly believes that children's lives are enriched by exposure to jazz music, and in this regard has presented numerous programs for schoolchildren at the Louis Armstrong House in Corona, New York, at Lincoln Center's "Meet the Artist" and "Real to Reel" series and in schools.
Legendary record producer George Avakian describes the Gully Low Jazz Band in this way:
"There has never been a band quite like the Gully Low Jazz Band. Most groups, past and present, stick to one style. Some current groups attempt to recreate early recordings in their entirety. These guys do neither. Inspired by divergent bands of the 1920s and 30s, you'll hear them swing a variety of styles in music by a wide range of composers, always true to the joy and heart of the music.
Another unusual aspect of the GLJB is that there is no fixed personnel except for its leader, David Ostwald, who draws from a pool of New York's best classic jazz musicians, all of whom are at home with each other as well as the repertoire. Even the number of players in the band on any given gig may vary.
The concept of the floating personnel was a necessity - so many good musicians are always up for free-lance gigs - but the high musical standards of the varying personnel has assured reasonably steady employment ever since for the GLJB, with always a different but consistently excellent sound from one date to the next, depending on who is available from among thirty or so top-flight professionals who move seamlessly in and out of the band. No matter who plays on any given engagement, the Gully Low Jazz Band has an identity David has given it and remains among the best traditionalist groups in the world today."