The Paul Lichty Jazz Orchestra (PLJO) is a 17-piece large jazz ensemble led by Paul Lichty, a composer, arranger, trombonist, bandleader, and educator from northeast Iowa. PLJO performs Paul’s compositions and arrangements exclusively, and the personnel includes several of Iowa’s best and most prolific jazz musicians. Additionally, the group has performed and recorded guest artists Christopher Merz, Dave Rezek, and Blake Shaw. Formed in 2017, PLJO has performed in various venues across the state, and in June of 2019, they recorded their debut album, “Dark Soul.” This record, completely crowdfunded with financial support from over 60 donors, includes seven original compositions and one arrangement of Paul’s. The charts from “Dark Soul” are inspired by his various unique life experiences, ranging from the shenanigans of a college house party, the bewilderment of watching the 2016 presidential debates, and his adventures on various dating apps.
In addition to PLJO, Paul leads the Paul Lichty Sextet, which released an album of all original music with their debut album “Social Media Suite” in 2019. His music has been described by his colleagues and teachers as sonic landscapes, rich in groove and development, that are "high energy, aggressive, and full of heart, finding the extremely fine line between calm and chaos... his music is truly a reflection of himself.” Paul's music makes the performers and audience feel at home and in new territory simultaneously, whether it be with the colors and depth of a large orchestra or the complexity and intimacy of the small jazz ensemble.
Paul’s music has been performed by numerous collegiate and high school ensembles across the United States, Cuba, and Israel. In 2017 and 2018, Paul was commissioned to write arrangements for the annual Sinfonian Dimensions in Jazz concerts at the University of Northern Iowa for guest artists Kurt Rosenwinkel and Ben Wendel. His works have been recorded on four UNI Jazz Band One albums as well as their upcoming release this fall. Recent commissions/projects include works for Dr. Robert Washut (UNI Jazz Panthers), Lucas Petersen (Winterset High School), Christopher Jensen (CJ Big Band), Dr. John Wiles (UNI Varsity Men’s Glee Club), Clayton Ryan (The Copper Smoke Trials), Brad Jensen (Hudson High School), and Gary Griffin (“Don’t Quit Your Day Job” Big Band). His music was also performed during UNI Jazz Band One’s tour of Cuba in March of 2017. Additionally, Paul has worked as a copyist for New York City composer/arranger, David Berger.