Poagao's Journal

Absolutely Not Your Monkey

Nov 26 2006

GTO big band

Friday was Dean’s last day at work, so we met some friends at JB’s to celebrate his rejoining the ranks of the unemployed. Afterwards, I went down to the Riverside bar just off Roosevelt on Friday night to see a Taiwanese big band called GTO (I think). As usual, hardly anyone was there when I arrived; the band members, all dressed in black tuxedos, milled around the stage area, which was entirely too small for their numbers. Somehow, they crammed themselves, their instruments and stands up there. I counted four trumpets, four trombones, three saxes, guitar and bass guitar, piano and drums. So a medium band, really.

They started up with some Glen Miller stuff, playing everything fairly straight. Even the solos were straight out of the original recordings. Individually, most of the musicians had real talent. Together, they didn’t quite mesh. Part of this was due to poor intonation, and perhaps part was nerves. The lead trumpeter, who played a left-handed trumpet with a dull brass finish, was referred to as “teacher” so I assume that’s what he does during the day. The lead trombone was pretty good as well. The leader said the average age of the band is 28 years old.

The place filled up during the first set so that I was surrounded by a large, smoky, chatty local crowd for the second set. The group got more into the swing of it all, but the tuning was still off. The band’s spokesman said they were supposed to have a singer in, but he or she was stuck in traffic. The trombonist filled in for the vocal parts.

It’s always a pleasure to hear a big band, or even a medium band. I look forward to hearing more from these guys when they’ve dealt with some of their issues.

posted by Poagao at 5:19 pm  

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