Americana Jazz Classical Orchestra (AJCO)

Mean Music_Gene Kardos_AJCO_MP3

[ Click on the link above for:
"Mean Music" Snippet
Gene Kardos; 1931
AJCO Transcription; 2018 ]

[ Scroll to the bottom of the page for all MP3 Virtual Orchestrations ]



For an Overall view of Ted Unseth's musical career, click this Tik Tok Portfolio link:


This is a new name for a project I've been working
on the past several years titled "ACTO".  All that work is being combined with new charts I've recently created.  This new name better reflects the project: note-for-note transcriptions of classic Americana/American Jazz Orchestra recordings performed live! and in concert.

I've recently compiled an AJCO Sampler titled:

"Great  American  Music

Antiques  Road  Show"


Below is the Context Insert for the CD:

 Ted Unseth & the

Americana Jazz

Classical Orchestra


Note-for-note transcriptions of classic

Americana/American Jazz Orchestra

recordings performed live! and in concert


--AJCO Sampler—


01: Butch Thompson re: Ted Unseth


02-03: Paul Whiteman Orchestra

“Anytime, Anyday, Anywhere” 1920

“Fascinatin’ Rhythm” 1924


04: Freddie Keppard

Doc Cook

“Scissor Grinder Joe” 1923


05-07:  Fletcher Henderson Orchestra

Why Couldn’t It Be Poor Little Me?” 1925

Saint Louis Shuffle” 1926

“Sweet Music” 1932


08: Gene Kardos Orchestra

“Mean Music” 1931


09:  Coon-Sanders Nighthawks

“Here Comes My Ball And Chain” 1929


10-11: Duke Ellington Orchestra

“The Creeper”1927

“Digga Digga Doo” 1928


12-13: Cab Calloway Orchestra

“Some Of These Days” 1930

“Man From Harlem” 1931


14-15: Jabbo Smith

“Charleston Is The Best Dance” 1927

* Context: Two Jabbo solos in this one chart:

01. Trumpet Solo at age 18

02. Trombone solo at age 68

“Rhythm In Spain” 1938


16: Don Redman Orchestra

“The Chant” 1927


17: Bennie Moten Orchestra

“Toby” 1932

Context: ACJO 20th Anniversary Concerts; 1993 featured

91-year-old Sax legend Benny Waters.  I added Benny’s

solo choruses to this transcription.


18-19: Jimmie Lunceford Orchestra

“Flaming Reeds, Screaming Brass” 1933

“Rhythm Is Our Business” 1938


20: Gene Krupa Orchestra

“What’s This?” 1945


21: Lionel Hampton Big Band

“Jaybird” 1948

* Context: Local Tenor Sax legend Bob Crea

(Buddy Rich Big Band) played one of his last

gigs with my band in 1978.  The cello solo here

is transcribed from his Tenor Sax solo.


22: Duke Ellington Orchestra

“Crescendo In Blue” 1956


23: John Kirby Sextet

“Beethoven Riffs On” 1939


24: Fletcher Henderson Orchestra

“New King Porter Stomp” 1932

* Context: Original composer:

Jelly Roll Morton

Fletcher Henderson version: Made famous via

Benny Goodman: B.G. hired F.H. to arrange this

and several others: Catapulted B.G. to world

fame.  B.G. always said he owed it

all to Fletcher Henderson. This can

be considered the beginning of

The Swing Era. 




Ted Unseth

4205 15th Avenue South

Minneapolis, MN  55407

952 220-8712




More than 40 years ago, I founded a musical concept called

the Americana Classic Jazz Orchestra (ACJO).  Its main premise

was and still is today:


Note-for-note transcriptions of classic Americana/American

Jazz Orchestra recordings performed live! and in concert.


This is a Classical approach to recorded Jazz: authentic

re-creations via written music scores, most importantly

including literal notation of original solos. 

My primary (but not exclusive) focus has been the Hot Jazz

period (1920’s-1930’s)—post-Ragtime; pre-Swing.  Peacetime

America and a booming economy allowed for an explosion

of creativity in all the Arts and Jazz composers and players

made significant contributions.  I’ve reviewed thousands of

old recordings over the years and focused on the few that

had all of the elements I look for: exceptionally creative

arranging and performance. 

Over the years, I’ve had memorable successes, but the facts

are these: I haven’t had a paying gig for the ACJO in more

than 20 years and I’ve finally concluded there’s no market

for such an ensemble.  Thus, I now embark on Phase Two:


Americana Jazz Classical Orchestra


I have re-worked my most favorite transcriptions to

accommodate a Classical orchestra configuration.  Since

the AJCO orchestrations do not include Piano (an instrument

not always available), I employ Strings to compensate for that

as well as Sax ensemble sections and solos.

I’ve been working on these charts for several years now and

have produced Virtual Orchestrations that cause me to believe

this project/concept is viable and worthy of support.

With computer software, I’ve created 24 examples

for this CD and they’re listed mostly chronologically.

Each a Mini Concerto worthy of contemporary review.

At one time or another, all selections were successfully

performed by my ACJO jazz ensemble.  It is now time

for the AJCO.  Same charts, different vehicle.  Same

result: a fascinating look at Great American Jazz Orchestras.









MP3 Tracks:

* Note: MP3s.  In some browsers, it might be best to right-click the link, choose "open in new tab", let it load there, then come back to this page for viewing.

01. Butch Thompson on Ted Unseth transcribing 1988

01. Butch Thompson re Ted

02. Anytime, Anyday, Anywhere 1920
Paul Whiteman Orchestra

02_Anytime, Anyday, Anywhere

03. Fascinatin' Rhythm 1924
Paul Whiteman Orchestra

03_Fascinatin' Rhythm

04. Scissor Grinder Joe 1923
Freddie Keppard/Doc Cook Orchestra

04_Scissor Grinder Joe

05. Why Couldn't It Be Poor Little Me? 1925
Fletcher Henderson Orchestra

05_Why Couldn't It Be

06. Saint Louis Shuffle 1927
Fletcher Henderson Orchestra

06_Saint Louis Shuffle

07. Sweet Music 1932
Fletcher Henderson Orchestra

07_Sweet Music

08. Mean Music 1931
Gene Kardos Orchestra

08_Mean Music

09. Here Comes My Ball And Chain 1929
Coon-Sanders Nighthawks

09_Ball And Chain

10. The Creeper 1927
Duke Ellington Orchestra

10_The Creeper

11. Digga Digga Doo 1928
Duke Ellington/Mills Brothers

11_Digga Digga Doo

12 Some Of These Days 1930
Cab Calloway Orchestra

12_Some Of These Days

13. The Man From Harlem 1931
Cab Calloway Orchestra

13_Man From Harlem

14. Charleston Is The Best Dance After All 1927
Charlie Johnson Paradise Ten/Jabbo Smith

14_Charleston Best Dance

15. Rhythm In Spain 1938
Jabbo Smith Orchestra

15. Rhythm In Spain_02

16. The Chant 1927
Don Redman Orchestra

16_The Chant

17. Toby 1932
Bennie Moten Orchestra/Bill Basie


18. Flaming Reeds Screaming Brass 1933
Jimmie Lunceford Orchestra

18_Flaming Screaming

19. Rhythm Is Our Business 1938
Jimmie Lunceford Orchestra

19_Rythm Is Our Business

20. What's This? 1945
Gene Krupa Orchestra

20_What's This?

21. Jaybird 1948
Lionel Hampton Big Band


22. Crescendo In Blue 1956
Duke Ellington Orchestra

22_Crescendo In Blue

23. Beethoven Riffs On 1939
John Kirby Sextet

23_Beethoven Riffs On

24. New King Porter Stomp 1932
Fletcher Henderson Orchestra

24_New King Porter Stomp

25. Wang Wang Blues 1921
Paul Whiteman Orchestra

25_Wang Wang Blues

26. Queer Notions 1933
Fletcher Henderson Orchestra
Coleman Hawkins, Composer

26_Queer Notions

27. Dippermouth Blues 1927
Fletcher Henderson Orchestra

27. Dippermouth Blues

28. Hop Off 1927
Fletcher Henderson Orchestra

28. Hop Off


Note: I have purposely bypassed the Swing Era.  There are plenty of bands covering that.  I'm more interested in gems that are not as familiar but deserve contemporary review. 
45+ years working on these charts convinces me still that they are true Mini Concertos worthy of Classical Orchestra performance. 


Click on the link below for Ted's Classic Jazz Orchestra (Jazz Band) performances of Jazz-Related Classical:

Jazz-Related Classical


Ted Unseth Classic Jazz Orchestra Timeline:


Ted Unseth

and the

Classic Jazz Orchestra Project



01.  1970-1973: Ted Unseth, Teacher/Music Director,

Urban Arts; Mpls., MN

High school students working with artists in the artists’

environments.  Several students formed the nucleus of the

first Classic Jazz Orchestra.


02:  1973-1980: Original Early Band

Wolverines Classic Jazz Orchestra (WCJO)

Ted Unseth, Sole Founder/Director


03:  1980-1984: Partnership Band

Still named WCJO

Lost the high profile WCJO name to former partners after 1984.


04: 1982-1988: Septet Band

De Stijlistics/Americana Classic Jazz Ensemble


05. 1993: 20th Anniversary Band

renamed: Americana Classic Jazz Orchestra (ACJO)


06. 2008: Rehearsal Band

Americana Classic Jazz Orchestra


07. 2010: Pro Bono Band

Americana Classic Jazz Orchestra


08. 1970’s: Jazz-related Classical

Wolverines Classic Jazz Orchestra



09. 2013-Present: Classical Orchestra

Americana Jazz Classical Orchestra (AJCO)

10. 2019: Piano Sextet

Americana Classic Jazz Sextet (AJCS) 

11. 2019 and on: Ted Unseth, Teacher

Adjunct or affiliate professor at college or university.


Ted Unseth

4205 15th Ave. S.

Minneapolis, MN 55407




Ted Unseth Music Director Engagements: 1973-2013



Wolverines Classic Jazz Orchestra (WCJO) 1973-1979

[ Ted Unseth, Owner/Director; David Rodgers, full-time Manager ]



July 21 The Firehouse (now Mixed Blood Theater); Minneapolis

The Electric Fetus grand opening sometime in August; Minneapolis

September 22  Riverside Café; Minneapolis

Valley Pizza in Dinkytown for U of MN Homecoming; Minneapolis



February 24 The Cedar Theater; Minneapolis

March 12  MPR Studios; St. Paul

April 7 Prairie Home Companion at the Walker Art Center; Minneapolis

May 18 Firehouse Theater benefit for the Palace Theater; Minneapolis

May 24-25 The Whole Coffeehouse; U of MN; Minneapolis

May 31 College of Art and Design Dance; Minneapolis

June 1 The Firehouse (Mixed Blood Theater); Minneapolis

July 22 Walker Art Center; Minneapolis

August 4 Marquette Inn; Minneapolis

August 18 Opening act for Sarah Vaughan at Guthrie Theater; Minneapolis

August 29 First album recorded for a week at Sweet Jane Ltd.; Northern MN

October 31 College of Art and Design; Minneapolis

Winter 74-75 Re-record vocal tracks at Augsburg College band bldg.; Minneapolis



January 10  Gibbon Ballroom; Gibbon, MN

January 17-18  Whole Coffeehouse; U of MN; Minneapolis

January 24  U. of St. Thomas; St. Paul

January 27,Whole Coffeehouse; U of MN; Minneapolis

February 14-15  Cabooze; Minneapolis

February 23  Waconia Ballroom; Waconia, MN

March 7  St. Mary’s College; Winona, MN

March 8  Northwestern College of Chiropractic; St. Paul

April 6  O’Shaughnessy Theater; St. Paul

April 11  NEC showcase (unsure)

April 12  Gustavus Adolphus; St. Peter, MN

April 19  Luther College; Decorah, Iowa

April 25  Hotel Sofitel; Bloomington, MN

April 26   Hamline College; St. Paul

May 2  Carlton College; Northfield, MN

May 3  College of Art and Design; Minneapolis

May 7  St. Cloud State University; St. Cloud, MN

May 8  Moorhead State University; Moorhead, MN


May 16  Metro Jr. College; Bloomington, MN

May 17  Private party; Minneapolis

May 24  Shattuck Military Academy; Faribault, MN

June 13  Firehouse (Mixed Blood Theater); Minneapolis

June 20  West Bank School of Music; Minneapolis

June 22 Spring Hill Conference Center; Wayzata, MN

July 3 American National Bank; St. Paul

July 4  Performed on a barge on Mississippi River; Minneapolis-St. Paul during the day,  Cabooze that night plus the 5th, and 6th

July 13 Steady engagement at the Longhorn Bar every Sunday night; Minneapolis

July 14  Gramma's; Duluth, MN

July 15 Northrop Plaza; U of MN; Minneapolis

July 18  Ridgedale Shopping Center; Minnetonka, MN

August 9 Lake Harriet Band Shell; Minneapolis

August 10 Anoka County Fair; Anoka, MN

August 1l-12  Amalgamated Restaurant; St. Louis Park, MN

August 20  Ratso's; Chicago, IL

August 22  Elgin, IL

September 6  Milwaukee, WI

September 22  thru

October 1 Three weeks of six nights/week at the Ramada Inn; Golden Valley, MN

October 16  Minnesota Educators Association convention

October 25  Osh Kosh, WI

October 26  Marquette University; Milwaukee, WI

October 29  Minneapolis Art Institute; Minneapolis

November 8  University of Minnesota; Morris, MN

December 7  "Sound of Music" party (unsure)

December 27-30  Telemark; Cable, WI

December 31 Cabooze; Minneapolis



January 11  Longhorn Saloon; Minneapolis

January 16-17  Whole Coffeehouse; Minneapolis

January 19  Showcase for MN county fairs (unsure)

January 25  Jazz Emporium; Mendota Heights, MN

January 29  St. Cloud State University; St. Cloud, MN

January 31 Kenosha, WI (unsure)

February 6  Bemidji, MN (unsure)

February 21  Hamline College; St. Paul, MN

February 28  Minneapolis Art Institute; Minneapolis

February 29  Eau Claire, WI (unsure)

March l2-14  Longhorn Saloon; Minneapolis

March 18  Macalester College; Minneapolis-St. Paul

March 26  University of North Dakota; Grand Forks, ND

March 28  Longhorn Saloon; Minneapolis


April 3  River Serpent; Minneapolis

May 1  St. Paul Hotel; St. Paul

May 2  Eden Prairie Shopping Center; Eden Prairie, MN

May 6-8  Every Thur., Fri., Sat. (several weeks); Commodore Hotel; St. Paul, MN

            Special Guest: Trumpet legend Cladys 'Jabbo' Smith

May 9  Emporium of Jazz; Mendota Heights, MN

May 13  Mankato State College; Mankato, MN

May 15  College of Art and Design; Minneapolis

May 30  River Serpent; Minneapolis

June 20  Minneapolis Institute of Arts; Minneapolis

June 17  Scotties on Seventh; Minneapolis. Started as playing Wed.-Sat. 9pm-lam;

but later in the summer an itinerary shows only Thurs.-Sat. This continues

until the end of the year when it went down to 1 night.

June 20  Minneapolis Institute of Art; Minneapolis

June 26  Wedding; Wayzata, MN

June 28-July 4  Ratso’s; Chicago, IL

July 9, Government Center for Heritage of the Arts festival; Minneapolis

July 10-ll  North Shore jobs for Maw Brothers; Duluth, MN

July 16  Lake Harriet Band Shell; Minneapolis

July 22  University of  Wisconsin; Superior, WI

July 25  Amalgamated Restaurant; St. Louis Park, MN

July 26  Northrop Plaza; U of MN; Minneapolis

August 6  The Gatehouse Speakeasy; Eagan, MN

August 15  Anoka-Ramsey Community College; Anoka, MN

September l-6  Minnesota State Fair; St. Paul, MN

September 10  Southdale Shopping Center; Edina, MN

 September 12  Butler Square Atrium; Minneapolis

September 18  The Bicentennial Ball at Southdale; Edina, MN

September 24  Orchestra Hall; Minneapolis

September 25  Luther College; Decorah, IA

September 26 University of Minnesota Welcome Week; Minneapolis

October 3  Eden Prairie Center; Eden Prairie, MN

October 5  Culver, IN

October 6  Carthage College; Lacrosse, WI

October 8  University of Nebraska; Lincoln, NE

October 9  Grinnell College; Grinnell, IA

October 16  Coe College; Cedar Rapids, IA

October 24  O’Shaughnessy Auditorium; St. Paul, MN

December 1  University of North Dakota; Grand Forks, ND



January 20  Jimmy Carter Inaugural Ball; Washington DC

January 21-22  Downington Inn; Downington, PA

January 23 The Riverboat; Empire State Building; New York, NY

February 18  Radisson Hotel; Roseville, MN


February 20  Hooligans; Minneapolis

February 24  Gustavus Adolphus College; St. Peter, MN

February 26  Hamline College; St. Paul

March 11-12  Trade Show (unsure)

March 17  Commodore Hotel; St. Paul

March 19  KQRS-FM Broadcast at Sound 80; Minneapolis

March 20  Hooligans; Minneapolis

March 31  Radisson Hotel; St. Paul

April 2  Scotties on Seventh; Minneapolis

April 3  South Dakota State; Brookings, SD

April 15  Simpson College; Indianola, IA

April 23  Stout State College; Menomonee, WI

June and July: Fridays and Saturdays, Commodore Hotel; St. Paul

Castle Royale steady job begins; St. Paul

June 29  Northrop Auditorium; U of MN; Minneapolis

July 2-4  Valley Fair; Shakopee, MN

August 12: Meadow Brook Music Festival near Detroit, MI

with Lionel Hampton and Marian McPartland

August 24-September 4 Minnesota State Fair; St. Paul

Fall ’77: Tour to Chicago, St. Louis, Georgia, and South Carolina.

October 22  "Wylde Rice"; KTCA-TV; St. Paul



April ’78: New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival; New Orleans, LA

September 25  The Sahara Hotel; Las Vegas, NV

September 26  NWC Theater; Ridgecrest, CA

September 27-28  Variety Arts Center Theater; Los Angeles. CA

September 29  Whittier College at noon and the Queen Mary at night; Los Angeles,


Fall ’78:  NECAA Convention; New Orleans, LA

October 7  Orchestra Hall; Minneapolis

December 22-23  St. Paul Hotel; St. Paul

December 31 NYE at St. Paul Hotel; St. Paul



January 5  Governor Quie’s Inaugural Ball at the St. Paul Civic Center; St. Paul

Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays at the Hotel St. Paul in January; St. Paul

August 15  Uncle Sam’s; Minneapolis

October 17  Prom Ballroom: final show w/ Rio Nido; St. Paul

November 12  St. Paul Hotel; St. Paul (Gunther Schuler was there)




1979: David Louis Rodgers as Manager/Agent believed in us and worked hard on our behalf.  He was severely injured in a car crash in 1979 and couldn't continue as

our business agent.  He was the most effective marketing representative I've ever

worked with and  is the main reason we had such great success in the '70's.



1980-1984: Ted entered into 3-way Partnership with former drummer and his parents.  Still named WCJO.  The first two years were quite good, but repertoire clashes ended with Ted being leveraged out of the organization, losing name and logo recognition.  Incomplete records for this period, but highlights include:


July 1980  Chicago Jazz Festival; Chicago, IL

            Special Guest: Trumpet legend Adolphus 'Doc' Cheatham

September 1980  Prom Center; St. Paul

June 1981  KTCA-TV; St. Paul

June 1981  Northrop Mall; U of MN; Minneapolis

August 1981  Meadowbrook Music Festival; Detroit, MI

            with Marian McPartland and Lionel Hampton

August/September 1981  Minnesota State Fair (daily concerts); St. Paul

September 1981  McGuire's Supper Club; St. Paul

March 1982  First Avenue: Minneapolis

            Special Guest: Shirley Witherspoon

June 1982  First Avenue: Minneapolis

October 1982  Town Square Park; St. Paul

October 1982  O'Shaughnessy Auditorium; St. Paul

            with Manhattan Transfer

November 1982  KTCA-TV; St. Paul

July 1983  Summer Arts Festival; Brookings, SD


Americana Classic Jazz Orchestra (ACJO)

The WCJO reputation and name were well established by the 1980's.  After

 losing the highly marketable name, Ted had to rename his project (same

 philosophy and repertoire: note-for-note transcriptions of classic

Americana/American Jazz Orchestra recordings performed live! and in

 concert) to Americana Classic Jazz Orchestra (ACJO).  Without name

 recognition and no manager, gigs dwindled to next-to-nothing.  1980's




April 17, 1987  "The Wrecking Ball"; Prom Ballroom; St. Paul

            Special Guest: Cab Calloway

Summer 1988  Northrop Mall; U of MN; Minneapolis

            Special Guest: Local Alto Sax legend Eddie Berger





Sandwiched in-between, Ted formed what he called his "concession to the recession"--a Septet version, DE STIJLISTICS.  Highlights:



First Avenue/Seventh Street Entry; Minneapolis

Dudley Riggs; Minneapolis

Alfredo's; Minneapolis

Sheik's; Minneapolis

St. Anthony Main; Minneapolis

1984  KTCA-TV; St. Paul

1986  Walker Art Center; Minneapolis

            With Special Guests: Leigh Kamman, MPR Jazz Host; and John Hammond,


1987  Seventh Street Entry; (First Avenue); Minneapolis

1987  Rose Fete: Minneapolis Institute of Arts; Minneapolis

1987  Twin Cities Jazz Festival; St. Paul

1988  Hennepin Center for the Arts; Minneapolis

            Special Guest: Butch Thompson, Stride Piano


Americana Classic Jazz Orchestra (ACJO) continued


October 1993  Bandana Square; St. Paul

            Special Guest, Alto Sax legend 91-year-old Benny Waters



August 2010  Pro Bono concert; Minnehaha Falls Park Bandshell; Minneapolis

July 2013  Pro Bono Family Concert Tribute to Ted Unseth; Lake Harriet

Bandshell; Minneapolis


Additional Ted Unseth Music Director Engagements:

1969  Composer: La Mama ETC/The University of MN Company

“Comings and Goings”; Minneapolis

1970-1973  Music Workshop Director: Urban Arts Program; Mpls. Public

Schools: Minneapolis

1976   Music Director: WCJO LP #1

1978  Composer: "Quintets 1 & 2"; West Bank School of Music; Minneapolis

1978   Music Director: WCJO "Play That Ting" LP #2

1980  Music Director: "Falling Moons"; Children's Theatre Company;

Mpls., MN; Minneapolis

1983  Music Director/Arranger/Conductor/Alto Sax: "Holiday Inn"; Mixed

Blood Theatre; Mpls., MN; Minneapolis

1983   Music Director: DE STIJLISTICS  EP

1986  Music Director/Arranger/Sax/Clarinet: AmEx/IDS National

Convention; Minneapolis

1988  Music Director/Arranger/Sax/Clarinet: Aetna Life and Casualty


Regional Conventions; Nationwide

1989  Music Director/Arranger/Sax/Clarinet: "La Revue Negre: A Tribute

to Josephine Baker"; Ruby's Cabaret; Mpls., MN; Minneapolis

1990-1992  Transcriber: Smithsonian Jazz Masterworks Orchestra; Washington,


1992  Transcriber: "Rebirth of the Cool"; Gerry Mulligan; Washington, DC

2006  Composer-Singer/Songwriter "I'm Goin' Home" CD; Minneapolis

2010  Music Director: "ACJO 20th Anniversary" CD; Minneapolis

2013   Composer: World Premiere: ”Concertino for Chamber Orchestra”’

Minnesota Sinfonia; St. Mary’s Basilica; Minneapolis