(MORRISTOWN, NJ) -- Imagine the electricity that fills the room as two of the greatest Big Band legends come face to face in a grudge match competition to battle it out for the trophy of “The Greatest Ever.” The audience is the ultimate winner as The Glenn Miller Orchestra and The Cab Calloway Orchestra take the stage together in this historic and intriguing Battle of the Big Bands, Friday, May 17 at 8:00pm at Mayo Performing Arts Center. Tickets range from $29-$69.
The hits ”Moonlight Serenade,” “Kalamazoo,” “In the Mood,” “Little Brown Jug,” “Pennsylvania 6-5000,″ and “Chattanooga Choo Choo” go head to head against “St. James Infirmary,” “Jumpin’ Jive,” “Geechy Joe” and of course “Minnie The Moocher.” Imagine the excitement and that is just the beginning. The leaders, Nick Hilscher of the Glenn Miller Orchestra and Christopher Calloway Brooks of the Cab Calloway Orchestra banter back and forth in this playful back and forth rivalry. Who could choose which ones they love the most? What an experience! Who will win? You will have to come to the show to find out, but let’s just say this is the kind of friendly rivalry that is a must see for anyone who loves the big band sound!
Through dance, music, language, dress, attitude, and many other cultural developments, the Swing Era is recognized as the period in which America first discovered its own unique multicultural voice on a global scale. Cab Calloway became the cultural epitome of the American Swing Era. It is difficult to think of any other single figure who as visibly and effectively fostered, embraced and extolled as many aspects of this new and utterly American Swing culture as Cab Calloway. From a decade long residency at the Cotton Club and beyond, Calloway Orchestras have performed in ballrooms, theatres, concert halls, outdoor arenas, and clubs; breaking box office records globally, always dazzling the crowd, bringing the house down, and carrying the good news of the best that humanity has to offer.
The Calloway Orchestra became famous for its hot, unpretentious sound that featured confident soloists, simple, effective and highly rhythmic lyrics, precision sectionwork, a driving Kansas City style Rhythm section, low ranging saxophone writing, big powerful wails, uninhibited attitude, broad emotional range, and blues grounded inflection, and the charismatic singing and band leading of Cab Calloway. It is multifaceted, open, fun loving, and has elements of Swing, Dixieland, Blues, European Classical, Boogie Woogie, early Be-Bop, early Rock, early R&B, and a host of other musical styles. It always has a dramatic flair, and an enduring universal appeal to all sorts of audiences.
The first Glenn Miller Orchestra did not make it at all. It was a total and absolute economic failure. But Glenn knew what he wanted, held to that dedication and relentlessly worked to succeed. He launched his second band – the one that lives on today – in March of 1938. The Glenn Miller Orchestra has been a “hit” ever since.
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The legendary Glenn Miller was one of the most successful of all dance bandleaders back in the Swing Era of the 1930’s and 40’s. A matchless string of hit records, the constant impact of radio broadcasts and the drawing power at theatres, hotels and dance pavilion, built and sustained the momentum of popularity.
Today, the 18-member ensemble continues to play many of the original Miller arrangements both from the civilian band and the AAFB libraries. Additionally, it also plays some more modern selections arranged and performed in the Miller style and sound. Just as it was in Glenn’s day, the Glenn Miller Orchestra today is still the most sought after big band in the world.
Mayo Performing Arts Center is located at 100 South Street in Morristown, New Jersey.