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Archive for Friday, December 21, 2007

Big band relishes tradition

December 21, 2007

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Jazzhaus Big Band

Jazzhaus Big Band

Pulse Podcast

Big Band Christmas formal going strong

Rick McNeely isn't quite sure why there are so many big band versions of Christmas songs. Maybe it's just the nostalgia factor. Whatever the reason, McNeely and the Jazzhaus Big Band he co-directs have been capitalizing on the connection for 26 years. That's how long the band's Christmas Formal has been going on. This week's Pulse Podcast focuses on the band and the formal, which is Saturday night at the Jazzhaus. McNeely talks about the broad appeal of big band music - and what kind of future it might have.

Rick McNeely isn't quite sure why there are so many big band versions of Christmas songs. Maybe it's just the nostalgia factor.

Whatever the reason, McNeely and The Jazzhaus Big Band he co-directs have been capitalizing on the connection for 26 years. That's how long the band's Christmas Formal has been going on.

This year's formal starts at 10 p.m. Saturday at The Jazzhaus, 926 1/2 Mass. McNeely says though it's called a formal, formal attire is not required. Cost is $5.

This week's Pulse Podcast focuses on the band and the event. McNeely talks about the broad appeal of big band music - and what kind of future it might have.

He says the band members "got a kick out of" the big band resurgence of the late 1990s, driven by acts such as The Brian Setzer Orchestra and Big Bad Voodoo Daddy.

"We already had the band together for 17 years, and all the sudden we were really hip," he says. "And then it went away, and so now we're back to our old fogey self."

Still, McNeely says the ensemble, which includes members ages 15 to 90, has nearly as wide a range in its audiences (though Saturday's event is 21 and over).

"Say you're a punk rocker or a country/western guy or a hard metal guy, if you like music, once you see it, you'll just be like, 'Wow, this is really, really cool,'" McNeely says.

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