Because I’ve been to six big band performances in the last couple of weeks, this is a good time to write about the impact of jazz band music past and present day in our area. The overall subject is too large to cover in depth but you can find an interesting read here.
A big band is a type of musical ensemble that originated in the United States and is associated with jazz and the Swing Era typically consisting of rhythm, brass, and woodwind instruments totaling approximately 12 to 25 musicians. Standard 17-piece instrumentation evolved in the big-bands, for which many commercial arrangements are available. This instrumentation consists of five saxophones (most often two altos, two tenors, and one baritone), four trumpets, four trombones (often including one bass trombone) and a four-piece rhythm section (composed of drums, acoustic bass or electric bass, piano and guitar).
There were two distinct periods in the history of popular bands. Beginning in the mid-1920s, big bands, then typically consisting of 10–25 pieces, came to dominate popular music. At that time they usually played a form of jazz that involved very little improvisation, which included a string section with violins, which was dropped after the introduction of swing in 1935.
Some names you’re likely to be familiar with today: Count Basie, Duke Ellington, Stan Kenton, Woody Herman, Benny Goodman and Glen Miller because today’s bands play much of their music. The big bands of old toured the country and attracted large crowds, today as a rule those audiences are no longer available but we are fortunate to have many college and high school jazz bands in our area in addition several bands that still survive the leaner economics, mainly because the players love the music and want to keep it going. In today’s market you will also find pocket bands made up of fewer players selected in a manner to play the big band charts.
Speaking of pocket bands and getting back to the performances I’ve seen lately on the 14th of this month The ShinSings Orchestra was at the Dayton Art Institute, a week prior on the 7th it was the Jazz Central Big Band, going forward it was the Sinclair Jazz Ensemble on the 15th, Stivers Jazz Orchestra on the 18th, Generations Big Band on the 21st and this last Saturday, March 23rd it was the fourth annual Jazzcakes where the Centerville School’s put on a benefit concert consisting of three middle school and three high school jazz ensembles. Some other area jazz bands/events I should mention are the Beavercreek Weekend of Jazz where a dozen or more local middle and high school bands compete. The Dayton Jazz Orchestra, the Columbus Jazz Orchestra and the Blue Wisp Big Band and coming in August a series of five weeks of big bands at RiverScape in Dayton.
One final note, I’m told on April 10th at Cline Elementary School in Centerville the Stand Kenton Alumni band concert will perform along with a pre-concert student jam session, from 6:30-7:15. Check it out here.
Here are some (not all) of the upcoming jazz events for the next couple of weeks:
Today Wednesday, March 27 – The Blue Wisp Big Band performs in Cincinnati, OH and you can Swing Dance with Lizz & Rex Review at the Dayton Event Connection.
Thursday March 28 – The Phoenix Project Concert is at Brothers Drake Meadery in Columbus and Dottie Warner and Ricky Nye are atArnold’s Bar & Grill in Cincinnati.
Friday March 29 – Shawn Stanley Trio is at Carvers Steaks & Chops in Centerville and The Mike Wade Quintet is at the Thompson House inNewport, KY.
Saturday March 30 – The Urban Jazz Coalition is at Gilly’s In Dayton and James & Moore is at C’est Tout Bistro in Oakwood, OH.
Sunday March 31 – the Jam Session w/ Kenny Baccus continues at Dayton’s Jazz Central and the Hoo Doo Soul Band is at the Rumba Café in Columbus.
Monday April 1 – The Kyle Eastwood Group is at the Blue Wisp in Cincinnati and the John Taylor Trio is at Brio Tuscan Grille in Beavercreek.
Tuesday April 2 – Dave Greer’s Classic Jazz Stompers is at Jimmie’s Ladder 11 in Dayton and Tony Monaco is at the Rumba Café inColumbus.
Wednesday April 3 – Rich Lopez is at Rigsby’s in Columbus and Dave Powers is at Vittoria Ristorante in Powell, OH.
Thursday April 4 – the Jazz Central Big Band plays at Jazz Central in Dayton and the Elizabeth Hayes Jazz Ensemble is at The Blue Wisp inCincinnati.
Friday April 5 – the Urban Jazz Coalition is at the Thompson House in Newport, KY and there is a Friday Night Jazz Show at Washington Platform Saloon & Restaurant in Cincinnati.
Saturday April 6 – Dick’s Den has the Bob Niederriter Quartet and the Lincoln Theater presents Inside Track series: Kyle Eastwood inColumbus.
Sunday April 7 – There are jazz jams at Victory’s in Columbus and at Jazz Central in Dayton.
Monday April 8 – Vaughn Wiester’s Famous Jazz Orchestra is at the Clintonville Woman’s Club in Columbus.
Tuesday April 9 – Ed Moss & the Society Jazz Orchestra is at the Schwartz Point Jazz Club in Cincinnati and Part St. Tavern Jazz Jam continues in Columbus.
More info and jazz listings can be found at JazzAdvocate.com