Taking a break from their normal fare of Classical music, members of the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra joined up with Byron Stripling, Carmen Bradford, and Ted Louis Levy for an evening of Swing music.
Featuring the music of Duke Ellington and Ella Fitzgerald The Orchestra performed what Byron called “pork chop eating music.”
Just like in the days of te Big Bands where the band leader also played an instrument, Byron Stripling led the BPO and played his trumpet as they opened the show with the hit song “IT Don’t Mean a Thing”. Donned in a sparkling black gown, vocalist Carmen Bradford joined in to sing the song.
Along with Big Band music, soft shoe and tap dancing were very popular at venues like The Cotton Club in New York’s Harlem. Showing off some of his fancy dance steps tap dancer Ted Louis Levy also took the stage with some fancy dance moves.
More than just a trumpet player Byron sang on a number of songs, including some pretty impressive scatting on “Dinah” “Saint James Infirmary” “I Got Rhythm”, and Minnie the Moocher”.
Along with her rendition of “Stormy Weather” Carmen returned to the stage in a gold gown for a performance of “Am I Blue”.
Showing off his vocal and dance skills Ted channeled his inner Sammy David Jr of “Smile Darn Ya” and strutted his stuff on “Kick the Gong Around”.
Also on the program were “Symphony in Riffs”, “I Can’t Give You Anything but Love” “Cap Hands Here Comes Charlie” “St. Louis Blues”, and a Cotton Club Medley.
The Orchestra, Byron, Carmen, and Ted all joined together for an encore performance of “Bill Bailey”.
It was a fun filled evening of song and dance from the days when Swing was king and Saturday night was a night for dancing the night away.