The Artie Shaw Orchestra will perform at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, April 14, at the Smith Opera House in Geneva. Tickets are $10 general admission and $5 for senior citizens ages 62 and above. Doors open at 6:30 p.m.
Now under the direction of Dick Johnson, the legacy of the clarinet titan returns to The Smith.
Taking the country by storm, swing dancing from the 1940s is a lively, invigorating and intimate form of participatory entertainment for dancers of all ages. The Artie Shaw Orchestra featuring some of the nation's finest jazz musicians has traveled throughout the country performing its swing classics including “Star Dust,” “Moonglow,” “Dancing in the Dark,” and “Begin the Beguine” to rave reviews.
The orchestra has a unique formula that has something for a full spectrum of audiences. The orchestra focuses on Big Band and jazz music and performs old classics and new songs in each concert. Johnson has recorded extensively for the Concord Jazz record label with his friend and piano virtuoso Dave McKenna. He was also praised in a New York City media article by the great Benny Goodman.
Artie Shaw 's Big Band still remains one of the most swingingest outfits around. And it all clicked when Artie reworked one little show tune with his own signature sound.
“Begin the Beguine,” which Shaw jokingly referred to as “a nice little tune from one of Cole Porter's very few flop shows” was the song. Shaw’s break-through recording became the hit that catapulted him into the ranks of top bandleaders. Shortly before that he had hired Billie Holiday as his band vocalist (the first white bandleader to employ a black female singer as a full-time member of his band). The break-through hit record catapulted him into the ranks of top bandleaders and he was immediately dubbed the new “King of Swing”. Today, Shaw's recording of “Begin the Beguine” sells thousands and has become one of the best-selling records in history.
In 1954 Artie Shaw, who died at the age of 94 on Dec. 30, made his last public appearance as an instrumentalist. He later gave his blessing for the “Artie Shaw Orchestra” led by Dick Johnson.
Tickets to the Artie Shaw Orchestra are selling quickly but are still available. They may be purchased by calling The Smith box office at 315-781-LIVE or toll free at 1-866-355-LIVE. They are also available at Area Records and Music. For more information, visit www.thesmith.org.
The Smith Opera House is located at 82 Seneca Street in Geneva. The Smith is supported, in part, with public funds from the New York State Council on the Arts, the City of Geneva, the Town of Geneva and by contributions from individual supporters.