Wolverines Classic Jazz Orchestra

WCJO_Best Of_Vol 01
WCJO_Best Of_Vol 02
WCJO_Best Of_Vol 03
[ Click on the link below for:

"Some Of These Days"
Cab Calloway Orchestra 1930
Wolverines Classic Jazz Orchestra
Orchestra Hall; Minneapolis, MN; 1976 ]

WCJO_Some Days_Orch Hall_1976_MP3


WCJO - ACJO Videos


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Wolverines Classic Jazz Orchestra 
Ted Unseth, Founder/Owner

Wolverines Classic Jazz Orchestra

This project began in 1973 with the philosophy that has held throughout and is true today—note-for-note transcriptions of classic Americana/American Jazz Orchestra recordings performed live! and in concert; a Classical approach to recorded Jazz. 

Primary focus has been the Jazz Age, an amazing outpouring of creative energies twixt the two World Wars; but other eras are represented as well, the key being Jazz Orchestras—brass, reeds, rhythm. 

In the 1973-1979 period, we were featured at local high profile venues--Scotties on Seventh, The Commodore Hotel and Castle Royale.  We fronted for Sarah Vaughan at the Guthrie Theater, Manhattan Transfer at O’Shaughnessy Auditorium; and were featured in two major concerts at Orchestra Hall.  Live broadcasts included KQRS and KSJN.


We performed in Washington, DC for President Jimmy Carter’s Inaugural Ball and were featured on initial broadcasts of A Prairie Home Companion.  Our two LPs received 4-star reviews in Downbeat  magazine. 




Over the years, I created CDs re: memorable original WCJO gigs.  They've been sitting in my Archives for a long time...  I've now decided to present the Content for the rest of the world via this website. 
Check the Navigation Bar to the left for the Golden Years.  And check the link below for original member Dave Sletten's Tribute to those unique days. 

Dave Sletten's "History of the Wolverines Classic Jazz Orchestra"



It is important to note changes over the years. 
In 1984 I lost the name "Wolverines" and special logo to former partners.  They have prevailed with these two titles "Wolverines Big Band" and "Wolverines Trio" for many years and I was forced (or so I thought) to change my title to "Americana Classic Jazz Orchestra" (ACJO).  This was a crushing blow and I've tried to adapt with varying ensembles and titles.

Here is a link to those varying ensembles:
Americana Classic Jazz Orchestra (ACJO) and Americana Classic Jazz Ensemble (ACJE; aka De Stijlistics).
Videos that also include the only videos of the early original Wolverines Classic Jazz Orchestra:

Importantly, I've recently done a title search for "Wolverines Classic Jazz Orchestra" (WCJO) here in the state of Minnesota and it is open for official name reservation.  I have applied for such with the Minnesota Secretary of State and I now own this title.
The WBB and W-Trio can have their names but I am sole owner of the WCJO title and all content related to 1973-1979. 

Note: When doing a Google search for "Wolverines Classic Jazz Orchestra", you'll find this title but sometimes links are also attributed to the Wolverines Big Band name.  I can't change that reference, but the content is mine alone. 


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.

1973-1979: Original Early Band

Wolverines Classic Jazz Orchestra (WCJO)

Ted Unseth, Sole Founder/Owner

03:  1980-1984: Partnership Band

Still named WCJO

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

04: 1982-1988: Septet Band

De Stijlistics

Jazz Age Septet


05. 1993: 20th
Anniversary Band

Americana Classic Jazz Orchestra (ACJO)


06. 2008: Rehearsal

Classic Jazz Orchestra

07. 2010: Pro

Americana Classic
Jazz Orchestra

08. 1970’s: Jazz-related

Classic Jazz Orchestra




09. 2013-Present: Classical

Americana Jazz
Classical Orchestra (AJCO)


10. 2020 and on:

Classical Jazz Sextet (ACJS)

String Quintet +


11.  2020 and on:

Ted Unseth & De Stijlistics

Jazz Age Septet revisited



Ted Unseth

4205 15th Avenue South

Minneapolis, MN 55407





Quotable Quotes – Ted Unseth & the Classic Jazz Project

"Thank you for sharing your work, and for the significant labor and time you have devoted to preserving and advancing the art of music performance, as well as the arts of detailed transcription and orchestration. Many congratulations on your achievements and  recognition".--David Myers, Director U of MN School of Music

Congratulations on your long and rich history in music.”--Tim Roesler, General Manager, MPR (Minnesota Public Radio)

“…irresistible.” Mpls. Star/Tribune

“…utterly amazing.” Chicago Tribune

"They dare to be different.” Billboard

They positively shout with energy.” TC Reader

"There may be a no more stubbornly dedicated jazz musician in the Twin Cities than Ted Unseth. Unseth's devotion to the music of that period (the Jazz Age) is as scholarly as it is obsessive and there are few if any who can speak as intelligently and enthusiastically about music as Unseth."--Bob Protzman, St. Paul Sunday Pioneer Press

"I rank this band among the Top Ten Big Bands in the country."--Carl Shunk, Willard Alexander Agency

"Outside of the original bands (most of which I saw personally), this is the most authentic Classic Jazz band project I've ever heard."--Nat Shapiro, Producer for Mercury Columbia Records; co-author, "Hear Me Talkin' To Ya" Jazz anthology

"Your Americana Classic Jazz Orchestra sure has 'fire'--I'll tell you it lifted me up and...boy, it was great to hear Benny Waters. I got the Spirit and that's the Spirit of the music of Jazz in your band."--Nat Hentoff, world-renowned Jazz journalist

"I'm just thrilled to get the 'Americana Classic Jazz Orchestra 20th Anniversary Concerts- Collector's Edition' CD. It's historic and so valuable-- I treasure it."--Leigh Kamman, "The Jazz Image"; Minnesota Public Radio

You’ve gotta admire Ted, particularly for ‘sticking to his guns’ all these years and championing the kind of music that he does stand for around here; and make it sound like what he wants it to sound like, which is that old recording. It’s very difficult and it takes a lot of ability. He’s a fantastic transcriber.”--Butch Thompson, world-renowned Stride Pianist

To lose what you’ve got would be like the day they put leashes on dogs."--Bill, For Pet's Sake; Mpls., MN

Ted, you are a National Treasure, which a more civilized society would cherish and treat accordingly. Perhaps there is hope—many in the audience were caught up in the spirit of your Classic Jazz Orchestra and seemed truly entranced.”--Dr. Michael W. Fox, Mpls., MN

"At risk of coining an oxymoron, I consider Ted Unseth to be a´visionary musician`. His taste, talent and drive have contributed to a body of work that is fascinating not only for its depth, but for its breadth as well--spanning a wide range of styles with passion and mastery. From the bandstand to the studio, he is an inspiration to his colleagues and audiences."--Tom Lieberman, Executive Producer, "Sweet Land" (film

"Ted Unseth and the CJO are a very dedicated and talented group. Through their efforts, I learned about the roots of Black music. The people whose solos I played (Jimmy Noone and Buster Bailey) were master musicians; and I have learned as much from them as from John Coltrane, Ornette Coleman and others. All younger players should study this music as I believe it to be the Foundation.”--Robert Rockwell III, Tenor Sax/Clarinet virtuoso; alumnus of Thad Jones/Mel Lewis Big Band and member of Danish Radio Jazz Orchestra.

"Ted's feat of resurrecting and vivifying America's Classic Jazz legacy and enriching our community with so many memorable concerts is well documented. However, it's also important to note the many significant Minnesota artists who worked with and were nurtured by Ted and continue to have a very meaningful role in the cultural life of our community. There is so much that wouldn't have happened without Ted Unseth. We have all benefited from his dedication.”--Tim Sparks, National Fingerstyle Guitar Champion; Founder, “Rio Nido"

"I deeply appreciate your playing at the inaugural parties. I am especially grateful for the unselfish help and spirit freely given for the enjoyment of those in attendance. You have set an example of what we Americans can accomplish by sharing our talents and energies with each other.”--Jimmy Carter, 39th President of the United States of America

“Thank you for writing to recommend Doc Cheatham and Benny Waters for the National Medal of the Arts. They can be very proud to have earned such generous words of praise. I have forwarded your recommendation to the National Council on the Arts for future consideration.”--Bill Clinton, 42nd President of the United States of America

"The demand for old recordings of music in the Hot Style is persistent. And if the Jazz band which really finds in this music an element of Art to which it feels a definite response can be looked to for moral support, then we can anticipate the evolution of an even finer Jazz, brought about by composers, arrangers and musicians fired with a new ambition.”--Fletcher Henderson, 1939

“Those guys shouldn’t be forgotten because if they hadn’t scuffled Jazz wouldn’t be known today. It hurts me to see guys, fine musicians, walking the streets or working as porters or in men’s rooms. And these young kids... I overheard one of them listening to Henry ‘Red’ Allen a little while ago and saying, “Man, why doesn’t that cat give up?” Seems to me they want us to die out… It shouldn’t be.”--Louis Metcalf, 1969 “Hear Me Talkin’ To Ya”


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