Backstage Pass with Lia Chang

Dec. 23: George Gee Swingin’ Big Band Holiday Party at Swing 46 Jazz and Supper Club; AllThatJazz.com 4 Star Review for New CD SWING MAKES YOU HAPPY

george gee

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.

John Dokes at the mic with George Gee and the cats, who hold court every Tuesday at SWING46 in Times Square. Photo by Lia Chang

John Dokes at the mic with George Gee and the cats, who hold court every Tuesday at SWING46 in Times Square. Photo by Lia Chang

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!”

George Gee. Photo by Lia Chang

George Gee. Photo by Lia Chang

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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.

John Dokes and Hilary Gardner. Photo by Lia Chang

John Dokes and Hilary Gardner. Photo by Lia Chang

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.”

George Gee 17-Piece Swing Orchestra at The Edison Ballroom in New York for Frankie's Centennial Savoy Ball on May 23, 2014. Photo by Lia Chang

George Gee 17-Piece Swing Orchestra at The Edison Ballroom in New York for Frankie’s Centennial Savoy Ball on May 23, 2014. Photo by Lia Chang

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 read the four star review at AllThatJazz.com.

Click here to buy the CD.

George Gee and the cats hold court every Tuesday at SWING46 in Times Square. Photo by Lia Chang

George Gee and the cats hold court every Tuesday at SWING46 in Times Square. Photo by Lia Chang


Related Articles
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

Lia Chang and George Gee

Lia Chang and George Gee

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Click here for the Lia Chang Articles Archive and here for the Lia Chang Photography Website.

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.

All text, graphics, articles & photographs: © 2000-2014 Lia Chang Multimedia. All rights reserved. All materials contained on this site are protected by United States copyright law and may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, displayed, published or broadcast without the prior written permission of Lia Chang. You may not alter or remove any trademark, copyright or other notice from copies of the content. For permission, please contact Lia at liachangpr@gmail.com

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