About The Band
The 18-piece Beantown Swing Orchestra represents the future of big band swing, one of the most sophisticated forms of American music ever created. Unlike a classical orchestra where many instrumentalists play the same part, each of our seventeen instrumentalists’ parts are unique and when integrated into the ensemble results in the distinct big band sound recognized by generations worldwide. That’s one of the reasons why it remains a classic even today – there is so much involved with the music that you can listen to it over and over and still hear something new each time. It’s the opposite of the “dumbing down” of popular music to appeal to the masses. Instead, we are “smartening” it up because we feel the general public is capable of understanding and appreciating music that is more complex, and they deserve a chance to hear and experience it in a modern context.
Music for Dancing and Unification
The music of the Swing Era (late 1930s to early 1940s) was created specifically for dancing, with its characteristic and infectious swing beat and exciting horn arrangements. Big bands would reorchestrate pop songs from the period and make them swing, giving them a sound that is still distinct and unique today. The magic of this music unified black and white youngsters on the dance floor, which was unprecedented in an era of racial segregation. The musicians were young as well, with most of them in their twenties; this is not surprising since it’s usually the younger generation of performers that popularizes the music of a period. They know what is hip and are not afraid to take chances, which leads to innovation and refreshing change. Swing music was so popular that it dominated the airwaves across the U.S. and the world; sadly, this was the last time that any form of jazz would be this widely recognized. After World War II, when youngsters moved on to other forms of music like rock and roll, swing became stagnant, and older, less energetic musicians brought it down a path of mediocrity.
The Future of Big Band Swing
Now, seventy years later, the time has come for the Beantown Swing Orchestra to pick up where the young Swing Era bands left off. Like those bands, most of our musicians and songwriters/arrangers are in their twenties and have the right mentality and drive to propel this music forward for current and future generations to enjoy. And just as the music of the Swing Era brought the races together during the previous century, the music that we create also possesses a certain unifying magic. It’s that our music is enjoyed by all generations, as opposed to the Swing Era when older folks did not understand the new sounds they were hearing. Older generations do appreciate what we play because that’s the type of music they grew up with and can reminisce about the days of old. In addition, younger generations see us as their peers and can easily relate to us and the way in which we stylize the music. In live performance, the result is a phenomenon not seen anywhere else – kids, teens, adults, and seniors dancing together to the same music. We believe it is this unique characteristic that will help ensure the widespread acceptance and enjoyment of our music for years to come.