Australia’s most commercially successful jazz orchestra was formed in 1968 by Sydney musicians, drummer Warren Daly and trombonist/arranger Ed Wilson. The band’s debut was at Sydney’s Stage Club in August 1969 and the personnel comprised top jazz and session musicians including Dieter Vogt, Graeme Lyall, Bob McIvor, Col Nolan, Tony Buchanan and Kerrie Biddell. Ed Wilson, Paul McNamara and Doug Foskett provided the bulk of the arrangements. The 18-piece big band played a balanced repertoire of pop songs and originals, which appealed to a mainstream youth audience. The band built up a strong following as a result of interstate touring and in September 1970 they recorded their debut At The Cell Block. The album was well received and followed byFeaturing Kerrie Biddell.
Financial and logistical problems led to the band giving a final concert at the Cremorne Orpheum in December 1971. Two years later corporate sponsorship enabled the outfit to be re-formed and they toured and held concerts in New Zealand, the Far East, Russia, and the Baltic States in 1975. Australian musical honours became frequent, including Mo awards in 1981 and 1982. On Tour, reached double gold status, while Featuring Marcia Hines, was successful in the pop market. The band became a subject of an excellent television special and continued to record and perform. Suddenly in September 1983 it was over. Sponsorship had been withdrawn and finances were as strained as the leaders’ acrimonious relationship. The unit introduced jazz to a large commercial market, although some purists criticised its jazz rock approach, but there were many future jazz greats that passed through its ranks and the Daly Wilson Big Band now enjoy a prominent place in Australian jazz history.