Boldly fresh interpretations of originals and standards.
A classic sound and riveting jazz solos.
Jazz festival presenters are often looking for one act that can do several things at once: showcase top level professionals performing instrumental and vocal numbers, appeal to a broad age range of new-to-jazz fans as well as aficionados, appeal to mainstream jazz tastes as well as those looking for original compositions, and lend a sense of spectacle to an important evening during the festival. That is, the kind of uplifting musical performance that leaves the audience with an inspired memory.
The Whitney Smith Big Steam Band, now working out of London, New York and Toronto for its three main markets, provides all of this — at an affordable price. Just ask our former clients.
"We have received nothing but compliments from the audience on the Big Steam Band's performance. Personally, I felt it was a great show with a distinct brand of big band music not often heard any more." — Peter Tulloch, Oakville Jazz Festival, Ontario
BAND STYLE & REPERTOIRE
The Big Steam Band plays swing, jazz, Latin and blues. Its roots are in the late 1950s sound of Count Basie Orchestra with Frank Sinatra, the arrangements in the tradition of Nelson Riddle, Billy May and Quincy Jones, and the full-bore vocals that can lead the drummer and touch the audience.
A Big Steam Band performance presents 75% original compositions and 25% classic jazz standards arrangements penned by Riddle, May or Jones. However, depending on your festival’s artistic mandate, we can adjust this ratio.
The Big Steam Band’s trademark instrumentals and vocal compositions are written by its bandleader and guitarist, Whitney Smith, and arranged by head arrangers, Andrew Jones and Jake Wilkinson.
What thrills audiences at a Big Steam Band concert is that the original compositions and arrangements fit a familiar tradition while being new to their ears. Our clients have found that the experience of hearing new music, written by the person up onstage leading the band, provides extra value for audiences.
"Even before reaching the end of their opening number the audience was applauding enthusiastically. At intermission, everyone was all smiles; it was a forgone conclusion that there would be a standing ovation at the end. Michele Doyle's voice was awesome — warm and furry or sexy and slinky — as needed. Sprinkled throughout the program were old jazz and swing standards, but if they didn't tell you that the rest of the tunes were written by Whitney, and arranged by various members of the band, you would be sure that they were old Dorsey or Ellington tunes that you had forgotten. Wonderful!" — Peter D. Smith, General Manager, Imperial Theatre, Saint John, New Brunswick.
FITTING INTO YOUR FESTIVAL’S MANDATE
If this is what you’re looking for, the band is now booking for June and July in Ontario, Quebec and New York State, and late July to October in Europe.
The band can perform a single set of 60 minutes, or, two-sets of 100 minutes of music.
The sound samples at http://www.whitneysmith.ca/SummerTours2011
will give you sense of our program for your festival. If the negotiations continue, Whitney will contact you to discuss the exact parameters of your festival, and how the Big Steam Band can be a successful expression of its mandate.
Contact us at bookings [at] whitneysmith.ca to get a quote. You may be pleasantly surprised at how our prices compare to other top level professional jazz orchestras.
"I love Whitney’s personal compositions. Some of the tunes are still hanging around in my head, and deserve to become standards. The variety of styles was amazing!" — Judy Amesbuy, Performing Arts Lakefield.
"The whole evening was transporting — it was sophisticated, cool and stylish. I felt I was in another place and time." — Karen Mulhallen, editor, Descant Magazine.