In the second installment of transcribing arrangements for an entire night dance music from one swing era bandleader, Jimmie Lunceford is on deck and the Indiegogo campaign is live to raise the funds to transcribe all these arrangements and then make them available to the public for bandleaders to purchase for their own bands to perform (or, as in some cases, for dance communities to purchase for their local big band to perform!) Michael Gamble covers a lot of bases in the video (posted below and in the Indiegogo campaign, about how the Chick Webb project worked from start to finish (and to print) and how we are doing it all over again to bring Jimmie Lunceford’s orchestra back to life for one dance-long night of music. Please do watch the video, there are a lot of interesting things about this project, some digging into the national archives for existing arrangements (in whole or in part), and some unique things about Lunceford’s band. Once again, I’m delighted to be working on the transcription project with a team of people dedicated to making sure this music is performed again! #teamLunceford
Big Band Revival: Chick Webb
One of my favorite swing era bandleaders is Chick Webb, the king of the Savoy Ballroom and jazz drumming trailblazer, who incidentally hired my favorite jazz vocalist, Ella Fitzgerald, for her first gig as the “girl singer” in his band. Chick Webb left this planet too early in 1939 and his legacy of songs lives in the recordings we listen and dance to, but the book of his arrangements is long gone. Seeing a need and an opportunity to bring this music to life again, Michael and Jaya Gamble spearheaded an IndieGoGo campaign to raise money to transcribe 33 Chick Webb arrangements and make them available to the public following transcription and performance at Lindy Focus 2016. The crowd funding goal of $17,000 was met in less than 24 hours and the swing dance community’s love and adoration of Chick Webb’s music is evident in this feat!
On December 29, 2016, the fruits of these labors will come to fruition in a performance of these transcribed Chick Webb charts, with Jonathan Stout leading the change with his Lindy Focus All Star Orchestra and I am beyond any measure of excited to be performing Ella Fitzgerald’s vocal tunes. There is so much love in this project, so many people who want to share in this experience on many levels, it’s almost overwhelming for me to think about. It’s all summarized here on the Lindy Focus page dedicated to this project, detailing the helpers, the backers, the list of songs and people who sponsored them, and the excitement continues to build up to the performance and, for some, the release of these charts so that other bands may carry this music into the future and perform it for an even bigger audience.
I am honored to be a part of the team putting all of this together, both as vocalist and working on the copyright aspects of the project. Cheers to you all, I hope to see you on December 29 in Asheville!
Updated to add: you can now purchase arrangements at the Heritage Sounds website.
Closed Doors, Open Windows, and Starting a New Band
In light of recent events and a lot of questions from friends and fans, I feel the need to clarify a few things. A couple of weeks ago I received an email from Atomic Rhythm All-Stars bandleader, George Knott, terminating my involvement with the band as the vocalist and as the marketing person for the band. My involvement was terminated over a dispute regarding intellectual property rights. As of two weeks ago, I will no longer be performing with the Atomic Rhythm All-Stars and have been removed from all future performance dates.
I’d like to thank those of you who have been supportive of me during this time. It’s tough to pour your heart and soul into a project for three years, use your contacts to obtain gigs for the band, invest time and effort into developing an online presence and fan base, share in the joys and woes of being part of a band, and see something you got into on the ground floor grow and flourish, only to have your efforts and talents be deemed unnecessary.
To borrow from lyrics, the song is ended, but the melody lingers on…after hearing the news, my friends expressed that I should start my own band. I discussed this with my husband, trombone player and arranger Lucian Cobb, who is leaving the Atomic Rhythm All-Stars as well, and we both decided that we love this music too much to stop playing it. As our options for joining other bands as regular members are non-existent in Raleigh/Durham, we will be forming our own group to play 1920’s, 30’s, and 40’s jazz, featuring Lucian’s arrangements from Atomic and many more new arrangements. We will also need a band name, equipment, ideas for songs, a book, a website, and gigs, among other things I’m sure we haven’t considered. It’s hard to start all over again, but, hopefully, we will continue our dreams of playing vintage jazz music and share the joy of this music through a different conduit.
We already have a gig on the books for next year and are accepting gigs for dates in March 2012 and beyond. Thank you to everyone who has faith in my abilities as a vocalist, organizer, and business-woman. I look forward to performing for you again!