The New Manhattan Big Band, founded in 1991, owes its name to the then plans of the Municipality of Amersfoort, who wanted to transform the city into "a new Manhattan on the Eem". That American allure must have inspired the big band in its development. How else to explain the American swagger of the ensemble, the courage to face challenges! Do not expect the NMBB to play only Count Basie and Duke Ellington - even though they also play that music with great flair. In the band’s repertoire we find soundtracks from movies, popsongs from artists like Norah Jones, Michael Bublé and Caro Emerald – all songs interpreted with real feeling by NMBB’s permanent singer Heleen van de Water – and in addition to that, delicious swampy funk like Herbie Hancock’s Chameleon and Tutu from the eponymous album by Miles Davis. In short, the NMBB is always looking for adventure.
However, what makes the NMBB really special is that the band members, although from person to person maybe Holland-sober, can cast off the brakes at the right moment to create compelling music, music that swings and from time to time genuinely moves their audience. Especially when the band unites in accompanying guest soloists, like vocalist Gail Pettis, vibraphonist Tjaco Oostdijk, rapper Diggy Dex and young percussionist Danique Kos - although you might say that the latter rather accompanied the NMBB, so just the other way around.
Every Monday the band comes together at the Dollardstraat in Amersfoort, in order to work hard with conductor Daniel Follmann on the further development of their repertoire. And from time to time, or rather as often as possible, the band plays live, because, that’s what it’s all about of course! In recent years they played in Utrecht, Haarlem, Rotterdam, Scheveningen, Amersfoort, Apeldoorn, Hoogland, Baarn, Amerongen and Leusden – in short, in every town where the band found a stage to show their skills. And always with great dedication and great pleasure, or, to use the title of one of the songs on the NMBB repertoire: Feelin 'good!