Dance the night away at George Gee’s Swingin’ Big Band Holiday Party on Tuesday, December 23, 2014, at Swing 46 Jazz and Supper Club, 349 W. 46th St. between 8th and 9th Aves in New York. From 8:30pm – 11:30pm (combination of live music and DJ!), with a complimentary dance lesson at 9:30pm. Admission is $12.
George Gee, an internationally renowned swing Big Band leader who holds court every Tuesday night at the club with his Orchestra, has a new CD out called “Swing Makes You Happy!”
Jack Bowers of AllThatJazz.com writes, “If Swing Makes You Happy, Gee’s eighth album as leader (and first for Rondette Records) should put a smile on your face and a spring in your step. Thanks to resourceful charts by trombonist / music director David Gibson, the ensemble generates a larger-than-expected sound while swinging its way through nineteen buoyant numbers, four associated with Basie and three others transcribed by Gibson from the legendary drummer / bandleader Chick Webb‘s library.
Rising star Gardner is heard on “Sweet Pumpkin,” “No Moon at All,” “That’s No Joke” and “You Know You Care,” baritone Dokes on the Joe Williams evergreen, “I’d Rather Drink Muddy Water,” “Baby Won’t You Please Come Home,” “Nature Boy” and “Evenin,'” and he and Gardner join forces for a charming duet on Frank Loesser’s “If I Were a Bell,” from the musical Guys and Dolls. The remainder of the album is instrumental, starting with the first two of Gibson’s five originals, “Comin’ Home” and “Bedrock.” Gibson also wrote the frisky “I Knows” (showcasing pianist Steve Einerson), the impulsive “Road to Roscoe’s” and Basie-inspired “Hash Mash.”
Gibson’s transcriptions include “Lindy Hopper’s Delight,” “Midnight in a Madhouse” and “Blue Minor,” each of which takes the listener back to the early ’30s when swing undeniably was king. The ensemble nails each one, making Gee’s choice of musicians who share his irrepressible point of view level-headed and readily apparent. Whether paraphrasing Chick Webb or Herbie Hancock (“A Tribute to Someone”), the band invariably puts its best foot forward. That applies to the soloists as well, who, besides Einerson and Gibson, include trumpeters Andy Gravish and Freddie Hendrix, alto Eddie Pazant, tenor Michael Hashim and baritone Andy Lustig. In sum, the solos are as impressive as one would envision from a blue-chip swing band. Bassist Marcus McLaurine and drummer Willard Dyson round out the muscular rhythm section.
George Gee has been leading a band (make that several bands) for more than three decades, and through those years his enthusiasm and point of have never wavered. He truly believes that Swing Makes You Happy! Weighing the performance of his latest ensemble, it’s a belief that must be contagious.”
Click here to buy the CD.
May 23, 2014: Frankie’s Centennial Savoy Ball Features the George Gee 17-Piece Swing Orchestra, Live Argentine Tango and More at The Edison Ballroom
May 20, 2014: George Gee Swing Orchestra CD – “Swing Makes You Happy!” Party at Swing 46 Jazz & Supper Club
Photos: The George Gee Swing Orchestra at SWING46; Launches Indiegogo Campaign for New CD, Swing Makes You Happy
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Lia Chang is an actor, a performance and fine art botanical photographer, and an award-winning multi-platform journalist. Lia starred as Carole Barbara in Lorey Hayes’ Power Play at the 2013 National Black Theatre Festival in Winston-Salem, N.C., with Pauletta Pearson Washington, Roscoe Orman, and made her jazz vocalist debut in Rome Neal’s Banana Puddin’ Jazz “LADY” at the Nuyorican Poets Cafe in New York. She is profiled in Jade Magazine.
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