The American Big Band Preservation Society (ABBPS) is dedicated to preserving and promoting the heritage of classic big band music, and to encouraging and educating new generations of big band listeners, players, composers, and arrangers. Incorporated in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts in 2009, the American Big Band Preservation Society, Inc. (ABBPS) is a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt, not-for-profit organization of big band music lovers, including artists, teachers, arrangers, and fans.
What is American big band music? Large dance orchestras known as “big bands” dominated popular music from the 1930s through the early 1950s, an era that encompassed the Great Depression, World War II, and the Korean Conflict. During much of that time, numerous local and regional big bands worked steadily in ballrooms and on the radio, boosting morale in the U.S. and on military bases across the globe.

America’s big band heritage at risk: Big bands founded by such giants as Duke Ellington, Buddy Rich and Woody Herman continue to perform and record, but the big band scene faded significantly after 1955. Today, active big bands are rare and getting rarer. The generation that first composed, performed and listened to this music is aging. An important part of American music history, and thus American social history, is in danger of being lost. Fortunately, however, many veterans of the original big-band era are still with us, vital and vibrant as ever, and eager to pass their knowledge on to new generations.

Preserving the American big band: ABBPS has assembled an impressive cross-section of big band advocates who have committed their expertise and talents to preserving American big band music, including musical arrangements, for future generations by educating musicians, arrangers, and the listening public. The ABBPS has identified several major areas that need attention:

  • Archiving, cataloging, and sharing big-band musical arrangements, words and thoughts of arrangers, and the history of big band arranging.
  • Developing educational programs for: students of music. music history; music instructors, practicing musicians, and the listening public.
  • Exposing young people to classic big band music, and educating them and encouraging them to make new classics of their own.