Themed Events

Sweet Thunder is a 13 piece big band based on the Gold Coast. The band has an extensive collection of arrangements adapted specifically for their line-up, drawing on the works of the masters of the genre: Duke Ellington, Count Basie, Quincy Jones and many others. Apart from playing varied programs of music covering a range of styles from the 1920s to the present day, the band can provide specially themed programs and/or shows.

Return to the Cotton Club

In this package we concentrate on the great dance tunes of the 1920s and 1930s. It is perfect for a Great Gatsby or Prohibition Era theme night and it’s great for the dancers! This package can be expanded to include dancers who will demonstrate the iconic dances of the day such as the Charleston, the Jitterbug and the Lindy Hop.

Battle Royal - The Duke Meets The Count

In 1962, after many years leading two of the greatest of the big bands, Duke Ellington and Count Basie finally brought their bands together and recorded an album: ‘Battle Royal’.


In the spirit of that landmark recording, Sweet Thunder have compiled an exciting program built around the timeless classic big band repertoire of the Basie and Ellington bands. Those great bands were built on the work of the finest arrangers and featured an array of outstanding soloists that perfectly complemented the tight, hard-swinging ensemble playing that was their trademark.


Sweet Thunder, with ten accomplished soloists and a substantial list of arrangements, all carefully crafted for the specific personnel of the band, presents a varied and exciting program of the music of two of the giants of jazz. The show includes ‘Basie Talks’, ‘East St Louis Toodle-oo’, ‘Corner Pocket’, ‘Cotton Club Stomp’, ‘Shorty George’, ‘Cottontail’, ‘Ya Gotta Try’ and many more, spanning nearly 50 years of big band jazz.

A Duke Named Ellington

Generally acknowledged as the most influential figure in jazz in the 20th century, Duke Ellington’s career spanned over 50 years, In those years he produced around 3,000 individual pieces. Sweet Thunder’s tribute to the Duke starts with classics from his jungle music period in the 1920s and moves through the decades to pieces composed not long before his death in 1974. This program is best suited to concert or festival settings.

Jazz Royalty

This program features the music of the jazz ‘nobility’: Duke Ellington, King Oliver, Count Basie, Earl Hines, Duke Pearson and the ‘King of Swing’, Benny Goodman.

Whatever the situation, Sweet Thunder can draw on its extensive repertoire to compile a program to suit all occasions. In addition, the members are all seasoned reading musicians who can provide professional backing for performers in any type of cabaret/floorshow situation as well provide appropriate background and dinner music to enhance all parts of any function.

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