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Be part of the battling Big Band Blast in Beverly

The Cabot will host two Boston-area jazz orchestras on June 12.

Clarinetist Benny Goodman had ushered in the Swing Era in 1935 with a band that included drummer Gene Krupa. Major chart entries such as “King Porter Stomp,” “Goody Goody,” and “Sing, Sing, Sing (With a Swing)” — one of my personal favorites — had led him to be dubbed the “King of Swing.”

Trombonist Glenn Miller scored his first hits — “Little Brown Jug,” “Moonlight Serenade,” and “In the Mood” — in 1939 with the big band that he had assembled the previous year. His popularity was just taking off, but would skyrocket in 1940 with the mega-sellers “Tuxedo Junction” and “Pennsylvania 6-5000.”


In October 1939, Carnegie Hall hosted a week of performances by orchestras led by the world’s two biggest swingers.

On June 12, The Cabot will host what it describes as “a re-creation of the 1939 Big Band Battles at Carnegie Hall.”

This time, the “competitors” will be Cape Anne Big Band and BT ALC Big Band.

Cape Anne Big Band is a 17-piece orchestra formed in 2010 by director/saxophonist Carlos Menezes, Jr. According to its website, CABB is
“Inspired by the sounds of jazz, swing, New Orleans street bands, soul, and rock n’ roll [and] prides itself in a repertoire without horizon. CABB’s repertoire always features a number of vocal and instrumental standards from the ‘Golden era’ of swing, pop tunes, and a number of show-tunes derived from popular films.”

That CABB has sold out 23 dates at Rockport’s Shalin Liu Performance Center is a testament its popularity in the area from which its members hail.

The big band founded by Brian Thomas and Alex Lee-Clark, meanwhile, describes its sound as “big band funk.” The four albums and five singles that have appeared over the course of its 11-year existence have “encompass[ed] funk, soul, hip hop, Afrobeat, reggae and jazz styles.”


So if you weren’t in New York City more than 80 years ago to be transfixed by the back-and-forth between two jazz legends, this show is your opportunity to catch an updated, New England version of something similar.

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