Since September , 1994, I have had the unique pleasure of working with and writing for one of the very best big bands in the world. If you have already listened to the CD, you certainly need no further evidence. If you havent already listened to it, then you are in for a real treat. As if the exceptional lead instrumentalists, the long list of outstanding soloists and the incredible range of woodwind doubling were not enough, this band has the luxury of actually earning its living simply from playing music together on a daily basis throughout the year. This results in a level of ensemble playing which is nearly impossible to achieve, even with the best musicians, in the more usual free lance situations. Such conditions are only possible because this band is employed full time by the WDR (West German Radio, actually West-Deutscher Rundfunk).Since this is the bands first CD of my compositions and arrangements, I tried to put together a program which showcases the bands broad musical spectrum and solo talent to maximum advantage. It was an extra special pleasure to collaborate with guest drummer and composer Peter Erskine. Peter has done a couple of projects a year with the band, including an enormously successful appearance at the January, 1998 convention of the International Association of Jazz Educators in New York City. Peters compositions offer a lot of room for the arrangers imagination, and the combination of his unique gifts as a drummer with the capabilities of our band is truly a writers dream. The first four pieces are from studio productions with Peter, and the last four are from a live concert at the Stadtgarten, a local club in Cologne which is one of several venues where the band performs on a regular basis.