Arranger/Composer Jill Townsend is the leader and conductor of the Jill Townsend Jazz Orchestra, which features seventeen of Vancouver’s finest jazz musicians and soloists. The Jill Townsend Jazz Orchestra, (previously known as the Jill Townsend Big Band) was established in 2000 as a vehicle to have her compositions and arrangements performed, as well as to showcase prominent Canadian composers including Bill Coon, Bill Mahar, Rick Wilkins and Kenny Wheeler.
Jill has composed and arranged music for a wide range of ensembles, and has had her music recorded and performed by various groups in Canada and the United States. Her composition Waltz of the Jellyfish and arrangement of Old Folks, which first appeared on Tales From the Sea, have also been recorded by SWOJO (Seattle Women’s Jazz Orchestra) and released on their latest CD, “Meeting of the Waters”. Jill was also a guest conductor with SWOJO in 2006, for a concert featuring her original compositions and arrangements. Her composition For My Friends was recorded by the Calgary based Prime Time Big Band, featuring award-winning saxophonist PJ Perry, and appears on their CD entitled For Our Friends.
Jill has been commissioned to write big band arrangements for the Juno-nominated vocalist Karin Plato, vocalist Leora Cashe, and the Vancouver based group Mother of Pearl, which was later recorded for their CD, Shebop! Jill studied arranging and composition with renowned jazz artists Kenny Wheeler, Ian McDougall, and Rob McConnell. She studied trombone with Jiggs Whigham, Slide Hampton, Muhammad Abdul Al Khabyyr, and has performed with many notable artists including Kenny Wheeler, Natalie Cole, Ray Charles and Chuck Israels