Longing to listen to jazz? Big band? The sound of an orchestra? Get a mix of all three when The Hotel Paradise Roof Garden Orchestra performs at Paulie Gee’s in Hampden on Sunday, March 11 from 3-5. The 12-piece orchestra specializes in early jazz and sweet dance tunes from 1920 to 1935,(well before the Glenn Miller swing era) with some songs dating back to 1910.
“Our sound is what one would hear in Fred Astaire/Ginger Rogers movies,” says band musical director Lynn Summerall, “plus Roaring ‘Twenties-flavored jazz as played by the young Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington or Guy Lombardo.”
Summerall is a former NPR jazz and classical announcer who led a similar band for 15 years in Norfolk, Virginia. He also spent much of his career in theater management at Center Stage, Radio City Music Hall, the Metropolitan Opera, and on Broadway musicals at New York’s Palace Theater, Los Angeles’ Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, and London’s Drury Lane Theater.
The mostly professional working musicians of the HPRGO come with classical and jazz backgrounds. Many are conservatory trained (including Towson and Peabody), some gig in other jazz or rock bands, some in orchestras, some focus on chamber music, some play tons of church and wedding dates with brass ensembles. About 26 musicians make up the band.
Many of the band’s arrangements come from the Library of Congress and are the same ones first played and recorded ninety years ago by legends such as Fats Waller, W. C. Handy, Jelly Roll Morton, Glen Gray, Fletcher Henderson, Irving Berlin or George Gershwin, says Summerall.
The style—and look—of the Hotel Paradise Orchestra is unique to Baltimore big bands and authentic to the period, thanks to the inclusion of a tuba (vs. string bass), banjo (vs. guitar), and a violin section.
“Our music is bright, sweet, jazzy, fun, old-fashioned, and danceable,” says Summerall.
There is a dance floor at Paulie Gee’s, so put on your dancing shoes and head to Paulie Gee’s where the Hotel Paradise Roof Garden Orchestra will perform every second Sunday of the month from 3 – 5 p.m. starting March 11.
The Hotel Paradise Roof Garden Orchestra will perform at Paulie Gee’s, 3535 Chestnut Avenue in Hampden on Sunday, March 11 from 3-5 p.m. The cover charge is $12. For reservations call 410-235-1566.