One of Tallahassee’s premier big bands brings its swinging sounds to the Capital City’s most famous concert space this Thursday evening (8/17).
For those who have never heard them play, Thursday Night Music Club Director and Guitarist Patrick Dunnigan said, with a total of 19 musicians, the group is obviously a BIG band.
“The instrumentation and the look of the band is patterned after the big bands of the 1930s and 1940s,” Dunnigan pointed out. “And while the economics of it caused those groups to fade away once we got to the 1950s, the genre still survives and continued on through the 1960s with Stan Kenton and Woody Herman and even today.”
Dunnigan explained the band tries for an eclectic play list.
“We play a nice mix of traditional big band tunes; ‘Stompin’ at the Savoy’ is one. But there will be some R&B and 70s funk tunes and ‘Sir Duke’ by Stevie Wonder and ‘Easy’ by Lionel Ritchie, just a broad mix of things.”
Trombonist Greg Akridge said there are some new dimensions to the Thursday Night Music Club.
“We’ve added more instrumentation, we’ve added some Latin percussion to the band this year, which will help and of course we love having Fred with this band,” he said, referring to chief vocalist Fred Lee. “We’ve got two other great singers as well; Lisa Foltz and Denise Tansey who add a different color. Each has their own style and fit to different songs.”
Lee, also known as the “Man with the Big Voice”, is a seasoned performer with quite a resume.
“I’ve had the fortune – or misfortune – as it were, of singing in canyons,” Lee smiled. “(I’ve also sang at) Veterans’ Stadium in Philadelphia, the Orange Bowl and places like that and being fortunate enough to be in some places with really, really great acoustics.”
And Director Dunnigan said this Thursday night’s concert will be in a place with perhaps the finest acoustics in this part of the country, Florida State University’s legendary Ruby Diamond Concert Hall.
“It makes the louds crystal clear and yet everything that is super soft and super quiet you can hear a pin drop,” he remarked with obvious excitement.
This is the first time the Thursday Night Music Club has graced the Ruby Diamond stage. Yet, despite the prestigious nature of the venue, Singer Fred Lee said the price of admission is about the same as the price of a Mocha Frappuccino at Starbucks.
“I just think this is probably the best musical value anyone in this country will get this year,” he laughed.
The Thursday Night Music Club’s Tenth August Concert gets underway this Thursday evening at 7:30.