The RIAS Big Band
The latest news is that the band is no more. There are eight symphony orchestras and choirs in Berlin, but, since the Sender Freies Berlin Big Band was discontinued several years ago, the RIAS band was, for a long time, the only functioning jazz orchestra in the city. Discussions on the use of the available finances for culture in the new metropolis have shown a tendency towards the classical ensembles now gathered from the previously divided sectors. Altogether there were about one thousand musicians(!) in these orchestras and choirs, with a mere eighteen in the Big Band. The RIAS band was therefore the sole representative of jazz and big band music locally. It was also the only locally available orchestra capable of backing radio and television shows.
The RIAS dance orchestra was grounded back in 1948 under
the leadership of Werner Müller. Many great players have played in the
orchestra. British first trumpet player Greg Bowen has been there since
the early seventies, together with trombonist Johnny Marshall.
Many thanks to pianist Kai Rautenberg for putting me up to date. That's Kai on the left of Jiggs in the photo.