‘The Art of Jitterbug’ comes to Edmonds Sunday, April 27

The Seattle Repertory Jazz Orchestra presents The Art of the Jitterbug, featuring four dancers, at Nordstrom Recital Hall.
The Seattle Repertory Jazz Orchestra presents The Art of the Jitterbug, featuring four dancers, at Nordstrom Recital Hall.

Edmonds Center for the Arts will host the Seattle Repertory Jazz Orchestra (SRJO) and its show The Art of the Jitterbug this Sunday, April 27.

This is the first time a regular SRJO concert has been scheduled in Edmonds. The Art of the Jitterbug is sponsored by Kennelly Keys Music, and is a new addition to the 2013-14 Concert Season.

My Edmonds News first noted that SRJO and The Art of Jitterbug was coming to Edmonds in its April 11 edition. The Art of the Jitterbug celebrates the irresistible dance music of the 1930s.

“SRJO looks forward to bringing this lively and exciting concert to the communities north of Seattle,” said Michael Brockman, co-Artistic Director of the orchestra. “The Edmonds Center for the Arts is a great venue for a big-band jazz orchestra and we look forward to bringing additional concerts to the area in the future.”

Two award-winning pairs of dancers will perform on stage alongside SRJO to showcase the jitterbug plus other dance styles of early jazz such as the Lindy Hop, East Coast Swing and the Balboa. The SRJO will play some of the most lively swing music drawn from the early years of big band jazz, when the musical style swept the nation’s popular music scene during years that combined the emergence of broad social liberation, the Harlem Renaissance, and recovery from the Great Depression.

Big band jazz grew up in the nightclubs and dance halls of New York and Chicago as high-energy dance music. The zenith of jazz dancing was the jitterbug, igniting the wild enthusiasm of dance-crazed youth in the 1930s. Seattle is recognized as having one of the most active and extensive cultures in the nation for swing dancing, with ballrooms and dance halls hosting swing events year-round throughout the city.

This concert features the most popular hits from the world’s greatest dance bands—Chick Webb, Tommy Dorsey, Jimmie Lunceford, Fletcher Henderson, and Benny Goodman. Selections include Basie’s Swingin’ the Blues, Goodman’s Swing Time in the Rockies and Henderson’s Big John’s Special.

Tickets are available through the SRJO’s website www.srjo.org or by calling 206-523-6159.

Single tickets range from $15 to $34 for the Edmonds concert. Most SRJO concerts sell out, so advance purchase is highly recommended. In a special effort to encourage attendance by young people at SRJO subscription series concerts, the SRJO offers tickets for all jazz fans ages 25 and under at $15 (for all seats in the house).

Now celebrating its 19th concert season, the 17-piece SRJO is co-directed by saxophonist and arranger Michael Brockman, long-time faculty member of the UW School of Music and an authority on the music of Duke Ellington, and drummer Clarence Acox, award-winning conductor of the Garfield High School bands. SRJO includes many of the region’s best-loved jazz soloists and band leaders: trumpeters Jay Thomas and Thomas Marriott; bassist Phil Sparks; saxophonists Bill Ramsay, Travis Ranney, Tobi Stone, and Mark Taylor; trombonists Dan Marcus, David Marriott, Scott Brown, and Bill Anthony, and pianist Randy Halberstadt.

The ensemble is the recipient of numerous awards, including Golden Ear awards from Earshot Jazz for “Best Acoustic Jazz Group” and “Concert of the Year,” and two “Starlight Awards” from the Kirkland Performance Center. Several members of the all-star group have been named to the Seattle Jazz Hall of Fame, with bassist Phil Sparks most recently inducted at the 2009 Golden Ear Awards. SRJO’s newest compact disc, “The Endless Search” featuring tenor saxophone legend Jimmy Heath, was released in 2010 to wide critical acclaim, described by allaboutjazz.com as “one of the top big band efforts of the year.” For more information about the SRJO, visit srjo.org.

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