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The James Last Orchestra is a German cum - Multi National big-band orchestra.With a Uk/English Choir. The orchestra was established in 1964 as a studio orchestra, led by jazz musician Hans Last. The orchestra started touring in 1968, and has been very popular worldwide. From 1967, the polydor record company named him "James Last", as they thought the name "James", would be more suitable for the international market.

Around 1970 the rhythm section was reorganized as a rock group (lead guitar: Helmuth Franke, rhythm guitar: Peter Hesslein, drums: Barry Roy Reeves, bass: Benny Bendorff, percussion: Christian Lembrecht and later Herbert Bornholdt). Bornholdt and Hesslein were members of the German progressive rock band Lucifer's Friend (another member, Peter Hecht, played with Last for a few years in the late 1970s), and Franke was a member of the pop-rock band Wonderland, whose recordings were produced by Last.

Last initially used many of the musicians who, like himself, were based in Hamburg and were regularly employed by the Norddeutscher Rundfunk (NDR, or North German Radio) big band. Over time, many of the NDR musicians could not always get time off to tour with the Last band, so Last used this chance to make the orchestra more international. Some of the top musicians who have played in the James Last orchestra include Canadian violinist Trudean Conrad, Welsh drummer Terry Jenkins, Belgian trombonist Georges Delagaye, Swedish trumpeter Leif Uvemark and a number of American trumpeters including Bob Lanese, Rick Kiefer and brothers Chuck Findley and Bob Findley. Another trumpeter, Derek Watkins from England, recorded with the Beatles, playing on Strawberry Fields Forever and Revolution 1. Some musicians are family: father-and-son violinists Dmiter Pintev and Stefan Pintev, and husband and wife Bob Coassin (trumpet, USA) and Anne-Louise Comerford (viola, Australia). Bob Coassin is widely known in America. All in all, about 20 different countries are represented in the membership of the orchestra.(All of Which were Recruited through the various James Last Admin Offices in Hamburg, London, and North America when the band became more of a Multi National orchestra).

James Last has taken much influence from the world of rock and pop when arranging music for his orchestra. A typical example is his version of Here Comes the Sun from the album Beachparty 2 which is influenced by the version sung by Richie Havens in the film Woodstock. Last's epic version of Greensleeves is a combination of the styles of Iron Butterfly and Blood, Sweat & Tears, two bands that he publicly declared his favourites in the late 60s. His studio recordings do not always capture the energy unleashed at his live concerts where a combination of skillful arranging and talented musicians give some surprising performances. His versions of "Nature Boy" featuring Chuck Findley and "MacArthur Park" featuring Derek Watkins are two examples. James Last has sofar (2013) sold more than 80 millions albums during his career (www.gema.de), which has honoured him with 208 Golden and 11 Silver records. On April 17 2014, James Last celebrated his 85´th birthday. At the same time he presented a tour for his band in 2015.

Earlier musicians who have worked with the James Last Orchestra, either live or on record, include:

Trumpet

Manfred Moch, Heinz Habermann, Leif Uvemark, Bob Lanese, Dieter Kock, Rick Kiefer, Ack van Rooyen, Gary Grant, Lennart Axelsson, Derek Watkins, Hakan Nyquist, Jan Kohlin, Bob Coassin, Chuck Findley, Bob Findley, Alex Malempre, Etienne Cap, Stuart Brooks,

Trombone

Waldemar Erbe, Manfred Grossmann, Egon Christmann, Detlef Surmann (stays still in!), Konrad Bogdan, Wolfgang Ahlers, Horst Raasch, Georges Delagaye, Nick Hauck, Pete Beachill, Anders Wiborg, Ole Holmquist

Saxophone & flute

Emil Wurster, Jo Ment, Harald Ende, Werner Rönfeldt, Stan Sulzmann, Matthias Clasen, Herb Geller, Jamie Talbot, Andy Mackintosh,

Guitar

Bernd Steffanowski, Ladi Geisler,Hellmuth Franke, Alan Sparks, Jürgen Schröder, Big Jim Sullivan, Erlend Krauser, Peter Hesslein

Bass

Fiete Wacker, Benny Bendorff, Thomas Zurmühlen

Drums

Terry Jenkins, Stefan Eggert, Barry Roy Reeves,Robert Last,

Percussion

Rolf Ahrens HH, Pablo Escayola, Max Raths, Wolfgang Schlüter, Barry Roy Reeves,

Keyboards

Thomas Eggert, John Pearce, Joe Dorff

Vocals

Sue Glover, Sunny Leslie, Kay Garner, Lyn Cornell, Russell Stone, Neal Lancaster, Tony Burrows, Joanne Stone, David Martin,Madeline Bell, Irene Chanter, Simon Bell, Mac Kissoon, Katie Kissoon, Sonia Jones, Tracey Duncan, Ingrid Arthur, Peter Schaper, Anella Kissoon, George Chandler, Jimmy Helms, P.P. Arnold, Ruby James, Sylivia Mason James, Pearly Gates, Vicki Brown, Jimmy Chambers.

Strings

Eugen Raabe, Dmiter Pintev, Trudean conrad, Gillian Catlow, Anne-Louise Comerford, Stefan Pintev, Juliane Holz, Zwetelina Haubold, Martin Lehmann, Boris Bachmann, Rebecca Thümer, Wulf Lohbeck, Kirsten Ibarra, Nadine Goussi Aguigah, Mathias Brommann, Kiki Zumach, Maria-Elena Pacheco, Katie Vitalie Ekatarina Bolotova, Adrian Bleyer, Katharina Kowalski, Dana Anka Matchin,Susan Richards,Pheobe Scott,

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Discography

Album

Year Title Artist Rating Releases
1966 Classics Up to Date James Last Orchestra 4
1967 Rythmes Danses Succès James Last Orchestra 1
1983 Music for Aquarius James Last Orchestra 1
1983 Music for Aries James Last Orchestra 1
1983 Music for Cancer James Last Orchestra 1
1983 Music for Capricorn James Last Orchestra 1
1983 Music for Gemini James Last Orchestra 1
1983 Music for Leo James Last Orchestra 1
1983 Music for Libra James Last Orchestra 1
1983 Music for Pisces James Last Orchestra 1
1983 Music for Sagittarius James Last Orchestra 1
1983 Music for Scorpio James Last Orchestra 1
1983 Music for Taurus James Last Orchestra 1
1983 Music for Virgo James Last Orchestra 1
1989 Wir spielen wieder Polka James Last Orchestra 1
1991 Pop Symphonies James Last Orchestra 1
1992 Traummelodien James Last Orchestra & Richard Clayderman 1
1992 Peace James Last Orchestra 1

Album + Compilation

Year Title Artist Rating Releases
1979 Everlasting Love Compilation James Last Orchestra 1
1994 Welthits in Gold Compilation James Last Orchestra 1

Album + Live

Year Title Artist Rating Releases
1970 En Vivo y en Directo Live James Last Orchestra 1

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