Our Story

Beasley's Big Band is a group of musicians dedicated to playing great big band jazz and having fun at the same time.  We are dedicated to preserving a “classic” big band style made popular in the 1940’s, 50’s, and 60’s.  We especially strive to honor the legacy of the Count Basie Orchestra. 

Founded in 1991, Beasley's Big Band has played many different venues for a variety of audiences, ranging from corporate parties and ballroom dances to intimate club dates and charity functions.  

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The name of our band comes from Chuck Beasley, who was the band's leader, lead alto sax player, and chief musical arranger.  The band's classic big band sound can be attributed to Chuck, who arranged the majority of the songs the band plays.  

Born and raised in North Minneapolis, Chuck played in big bands professionally after leaving the Air Force at the end World War II.  He was also an experienced music educator with over 20 years of teaching experience.  He received his Bachelor's and Master's degrees in music from the University of Minnesota.   

Even though we lost Chuck to cancer several years ago, his legacy lives on through his music and his joyous spirit that drives the culture of the band to this day.

Chuck Beasley

Just how big is Beasley's Big Band?

We're a 18 piece collection of people who love to play swing.  From front to back:

  • 5 saxophones: 2 altos, 2 tenors, and 1 baritone
  • 4 trombones
  • 4 trumpets
  • 4 rhythm: drums, bass, guitar, piano
  • 1 vocalist

Compared with typical pop music today, we're huge.  But from the 1920's to the early 1950's, this was how popular music was performed.  We strive produce that same, authentic, and instantly recognizable sound.

Beasley’s Big Band Members Emeritus 


  • Glen Gruye RIP  2012 
  • Charles Beasley RIP  2010 
  • Harry Ballard RIP  2011 
  • Jeri Zwack RIP  2017 
  • George Ross RIP 
  • Mark Gladding 
  • Warren Wiese 
  • Greg Bannister 
  • Doug Svendsen 
  • Mike Svendsen 


  • Ray Peterson RIP  2003 
  • Tim Domka 


  • Bill “Froggy” Halgren RIP 
  • Stuart Lane 
  • Eric Moonen 
  • Larry Foyen 
  • Dave Mantini 
  • Jason Karsten 
  • Jeff Rudoy 
  • Mel Carter RIP  2017 
  • Dave Haberman 
  • Nicole Young 
  • Peter Elliot 
  • Peter Davis 
  • Leo Fine RIP 2021
  • Tim Meyer 


  • Glenn Martin RIP 
  • Ryan Abrahamson 


  • Rodger Bartlett RIP  2011 
  • John Kaplan 
  • Maureen Williamson Schwartz 
  • Mark Browning Milner 
  • Carl Priest 


  • Art Weflen RIP   2003 
  • Bill Karnik RIP   2009 


  • Christine Rosholt RIP  2011 
  • Barbara Joyce 
  • Rochelle Randy-Larson