• About

    Just Friends Big Band was formed in October, 1986 by Paul Pizner, then Director of Jazz at Hamline University in St. Paul, MN. It was created to perform at the opening of Hamline’s Sundin Hall and the band personnel included many Hamline alum. Everyone agreed they were all just friends, and should continue as a rehearsal band — to help keep good big band jazz alive in the Twin Cities, and just for fun.

    The band originally rehearsed at Hamline University, and over the years has called a variety of area churches home – in Minneapolis, Mendota Heights, Bloomington and Richfield. The band underwent a major reorganization in 1995, but has always continued as a band of musical friends. The current home of the band is the band room at Notre Dame Academy (NDA) in Minnetonka, MN, where the band's leader is Music Director.

Just Friends Big Band rehearses weekly and performs 6 to 8 times a year – at NDA, and at various community venues and private affairs throughout the Twin Cities. The band has played on local live radio, at the famous First Avenue in Minneapolis, and most sadly in May 2009 in a return to Sundin Hall, for Paul Pizner's memorial.

The band’s leader, since 2001, is Adam Bestler. Adam is a graduate of the University of Minnesota, Morris, with professional credentials that include a stint with the Count Basie Orchestra. Just Friends Big Band is available for hire, for private bookings and community events — contact us for information.

The Just Friends Big Band at the Bootleggers Ball, Nicollet Island, winter 2012