Dedicated to the performance of America’s greatest popular standards, SWINGTIME BIG BAND is a 20-piece authentic swing band comprised of master interpreters of music from the Swing Era (mid-1930s through early 1950s). Recently described by The New York Times as, “Musicians who make the sounds of the pre-rock era rock,” the ensemble specializes in performing original arrangements of Big Band classics from the Great American Songbook, bringing to life both the style and the spirit of this music for 21st century audiences to experience in living color. In recognition of the band’s efforts in “perpetuating, promoting & performing with integrity the sounds of the Big Band Era,” the Big Band Hall of Fame officially recognized SWINGTIME in 2007 as “Ambassadors of Big Band Music.”
SWINGTIME thrills concert audiences and Ballroom dancers alike with authentic recreations of the timeless swing music of such great Big Band leaders as Count Basie, Artie Shaw, Glenn Miller, Benny Goodman, Tommy Dorsey, Duke Ellington, Harry James, Woody Herman, Les Brown, Charlie Barnet and Stan Kenton, among many others. Such swing classics can be heard on the band’s recent CD “Live…From New York,” which is a compilation taken from recent concert performances.
In June 2011, SWINGTIME returned to Lincoln Center for its renowned Midsummer Night Swing festival, marking the band’s fifth appearance on that grand stage since 1999. For its previous performance there, SWINGTIME had the distinction of being singled out as the only swing band featured in Time Out New York‘s select highlights of the 2007 Midsummer Night Swing Festival. Just some of the many other prestigious venues at which band members have performed include: Carnegie Hall, Avery Fisher Hall, Radio City Music Hall, New York State Theatre, the Plaza Hotel, the Waldorf Astoria, Tavern on the Green and the Rainbow Room.
With the recent renaissance in popularity of both swing music and ballroom dancing, this versatile ensemble has been enjoying remarkable success playing both the classic swing that is SWINGTIME’s calling card and a wide variety of music to accommodate the many varied styles requested by ballroom dancers, including the Lindy, Fox Trot, Peabody, Cha-Cha, Tango, Merengue, Rhumba and Mambo.
Among the 20 consummate Big Band musicians who complete SWINGTIME’s traditional instrumentation of reeds, brass and rhythm are numerous accomplished soloists, including performers with Billy Eckstine, Jerry Vale, Ed Shaughnessy, the Tommy Dorsey and Artie Shaw Big Bands, as well as veterans of such popular regional big bands as Ira Alexander’s Swingtimers, Hal Hoffman Orchestra, Ben Grisafi Big Band, Al Miller Big Band, Danny Vincent Orchestra and Bob Rotunda’s Stardusters Big Band.
SWINGTIME features a female vocalist–Bobbie Ruth–who recreates the “gal vocal” stylings of such legendary singers as Peggy Lee, Ella Fitzgerald, Eydie Gormé, Helen Forrest, Billie Holiday, Anita O’Day and Judy Garland, and the band’s male vocalist–Jerry Costanzo–brings to life the sound of such Big Band crooners and swingers as Nat “King” Cole, Bobby Darin, Matt Monro, Dean Martin and, of course, the immortal Frank Sinatra.
Leading the band is saxophonist and artistic director Steve Shaiman, a passionate advocate of Big Band swing for his entire musical life. Audiences are enthralled by Steve’s animated leadership and the informative background he imparts about both the music and the bandleaders during the performance. With the support of his SWINGTIME brethren, Steve is committed to keep this important music alive by performing as often as possible for audiences of all ages.
In addition to bringing the joy of swing to summer concert-goers in the beautiful public parks and beaches across its native Long Island, the SWINGTIME BIG BAND stays busy spreading the gospel of swing music year-round, with public and private concert and ballroom dance engagements throughout the greater New York tri-state area.
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