The group comprises talented musicians with a shared love of American standards from all over the Southland, including a sizable contingency from Jet Propulsion Laboratory. Their declared genre is swing/big band, but their songs nimbly span the decades.
For instance, they play “A Tisket a Tasket” and “Summertime” from the 1930s up to “Fly Me to the Moon” and “The Look of Love” from the 1950s and ’60s.
The band is tight and well-rehearsed, with room built in for some great solos, particularly from lead tenor sax player Robin Smith. The two vocalists, Paul Rickey and Holly Bender, take turns crooning their favorite songs. They both look the part in their vintage garb, but their voices need to be bigger, more charismatic.
The band is at its finest on swinging instrumental numbers like “Dark Eyes,” “Begin the Beguine” and everyone’s favorite, Glenn Miller’s “In the Mood.”
On these songs, the brass section (five saxophones, two trombones, trumpet and French horn) wails and the rest of the band (keyboard, guitar, upright bass, drums, percussion) really hums. It’s a whole lot of music filling the evening air and compels young and old to get out on the dance floor.
From the beginning to the end of the two-hour show, the dance floor was occupied by couples trying out dance moves, by parents dipping and spinning their toddlers and by little ones skittering around among legs. Everyone is welcome, no one is showing off, and both observers and dancers have smiles on their faces. There’s a warm sense of community.