The Croatian Radiotelevision Jazz Orchestra, the only professional band of its kind in Croatia, with a history spanning more than seventy years in continuity, ranks among the longest-standing big bands in the world. Established during the 1946/1947 season as the Radio Zagreb Dance Orchestra needed for radio programmes and recordings, in time it also started performing publicly. In addition to participating in a number of public programmes and independent concerts in Croatia and abroad, since the year 2000 it has had its own concert cycle that is directly broadcast on Croatian Radio’s Third Programme. The orchestra has been led by a number of conductors: Zlatko Černjul, Miroslav Killer, Milivoj Körbler, Nikica Kalogjera, Miljenko Prohaska, Silvije Glojnarić, Saša Nestorović and Andreas Marinello. Miron Hauser has headed the orchestra as artistic director since the 2019/2020 season.
The orchestra became one of the most influential jazz bands on the Croatian music scene, and a real nucleus of top jazz musicians, many of whom are active not only as performers, but also as composers and arrangers. Miljenko Prohaska, who had been leading it for over thirty years (1955-1989) placed focus on orchestra’s own repertoire and it resulted in the orchestra developing a specific, internationally recognisable style. This practice is still on-going and implemented today through the competition project New Compositions for the HRT Jazz Orchestra, author concerts by the orchestra members and numerous collaborations with Croatian musicians of various genres. At the same time, leading musicians from the international jazz scene regularly make guest appearances as soloists and conductors: Art Farmer, Clark Terry, Ted Curson, Johnny Griffin, Sal Nistico, Ernie Wilkins, Kai Winding, Ed Neumeister, John Lewis, Art Taylor, Lucky Thompson, Ignacio Berroa, Jon Faddis, Georgie Fame, Boris Kozlov, Lars Møller and others. Just during the last few seasons, the orchestra has hosted greats such as Terell Stafford, Ernie Watts, Bart van Lier, Luis Bonilla, Alan Broadbent, Christian McBride, Edward Palermo, Jimi Tenor, Maurizio Giammarco, Guillermo Klein, Abhijit Banerjee, Kala Ramnath, Dee Dee Bridgewater and Arturo Sandoval.
Its rich discography includes collaborations with some of the most prominent figures of the Croatian music scene. Some of its finest albums include U sredi našeg sela (2011), Still Standing with Radojka Šverko (2011), Family with Matija Dedić (2012), With Every Breath with Lela and Joe Kaplowitz (2012), Bugles Over Zagreb made with trumpeter Rex Richardson and composer Doug Richards, published in the US in 2014 for the Rex Richardson Production label, Antarctica and Other Destinations with music by Mak Murtić (World Local Records), Well Paid Girl with Valerija Nikolovska and Viktor Lipić (Croatia Records), Lasse Lindgren Plays the ABBA Songbook in a Big Band Atmosphere (Imogena Records), Stavi pravu stvar with Marko Tolja (Aquarius Records, 2017) and Chui ovu glazbu with the band Chui (Dancing Bear, 2017) which received two Croatian discography awards Porin. (Pressetext)