Big Beat

sounds good, feels good

BIG BEAT is a 19-piece big band that was formed in 2014 with one purpose - to make music that sounds good and feels good.  

The band was founded by bassist Charlie Dougherty, saxophonist Phil Engsberg, trombonist Caleb Rumley and pianist Ryan Tomski. Fresh off of graduating with Master’s Degrees in Jazz Arranging from William Paterson University, the four wanted to write and arrange music for big band. The music they had in mind was steeped in the modern jazz tradition without the limitations of a particular genre. In the summer of July 2014, they began writing and collecting musicians for the project. Shortly after forming the ensemble, Canadian born vocalist Allison McKenzie was invited to join the group. Her compositions quickly became a part of the bands repertoire, as well as her powerful but lyrical voice that easily bridges the pop and jazz worlds. The group consists of 5 saxophones, 4 trombones, 4 trumpets, guitar, piano, bass, drums, vocals and a conductor.  

The group began performing at prominent NYC/NJ venues like Hat City Kitchen, The Knitting Factory, Langosta Lounge and Seton Hall University and more. Since 2014, the group has been invited back each year to perform at the William Paterson University’s Summer Jazz series with artists such as Peter Bernstein, Vanessa Rubin and Karryn Allison. 

In January 2015, BIG BEAT recorded and released their EP, Big Beat EP. It contains 7 songs and was produced by trumpeter and arranger, Cecil Bridgewater. The jazz legend is a mentor to the band and has described the EP by saying, “They present the music in a delightfully delicious serving like a familiar meal, but with new and exotic tastes!” The EP is available on Amazon, iTunes and CD Baby. EP 1 & 2 were followed by a live recording from a radio broadcast on New Jersey’s 88.9 Brave New Radio in 2017. This broadcast was recorded, mixed and mastered by the band.

SOUNDS GOOD, FEELS GOOD is BIG BEAT’s forthcoming debut album. After launching a successful Kickstarter campaign in February 2018, the band raised $9,000 and enlisted three time Grammy Nominated trombonist/arranger Pete McGuiness to produce the record. Denise Renee, a dynamic vocalist who has worked with Stevie Wonder, Cory Henry and the Funk Apostles and Beyonce was recruited to produce vocals on the project. The album is set to be released on September 27th, 2019. 



CONDUCTOR Caleb Rumley (trombone)

VOCALS Allison McKenzie

SAXOPHONES Nick Brust (soprano & alto), Phil Engsberg (soprano & alto), Matt Tischio (tenor), Dane Alexander (tenor) Sam Tobias (baritone, flute & piccolo)

TRUMPETS Mike Spengler (lead), Chris Rogers, Ben Hankle, Rich Polatchek

TROMBONES Adam Machaskee (lead), Stephen Justice, Collin Banks, Tim Newman (bass)

RHYTHM Joe Spinelli (drums), Will Dougherty (piano), Ryan Tomski (piano), Arath Corral (guitar), Charlie Dougherty (bass)

PRODUCER Pete McGuiness


A poem by Co-Leader Phil Engsberg

Big Beat is a big band with attitude

Big Beat throws it in your face

Big Beat don't take no sass

Big Beat ALWAYS tips 20%

Big Beat is here, and Big Beat is coming for you. 

Big Beat filed its taxes early this year

Big Beat takes lemons, and just eats them

If you can't see where Big Beat is...'s probably too late for you

Big Beat gives you your daily serving of vegetables

Big Beat follows all catch and release guidelines

The music sounds good

The music feels good