Live recording captures an adrenaline-filled evening of hot swing music at the Roseland Ballroom in May 1999, celebrating the 85th birthday of swing legend Frankie Manning .It is an honor for us to have been able to release "Swingin' Away" as our first CD, in honor of that special man, Frankie Manning. We were concerned that some would think that because this was recorded live at a birthday celebration, it would be looked upon as just a tribute CD. But, when we first listened to the live mix, we knew we had something hot that the whole world had to hear. There is something special about live recordings and some of my favorite recording were those recorded live. This is the way it is, on edge, live, and then there is the interaction between band and crowd. No studio recording could ever match this. One take and that is that. George Gee is also a special man -- he is a guy who loves this music, played big band swing when it was not popular, even took the barbs when the "serious" jazz musicians looked down on playing for dancers. Swing music was from the beginning dance music. Today, a lot of the name big bands say they play big band dance music, but, what they really play is concert music -- they play for themselves. Except for society benefits, a lot of them never play dance events on a regular basis. That is what sets the Gee music into another category, one like the bands of the swing era. If the dancers did not like your band at the Savoy, well, then the band had a very very very short run. So put this CD on and roll back the rug. Also there are the band members themselves. I know each one of them and they are all superb jazz artists and they love to play for Gee and to play for dancers. In fact, little by little, the band is lured on to the floor and a lot of them turn out to be pretty good dancers as well. They are all individuals and this is no cookie cutter band. And, Frankie, well, the CD liner notes with the photographs of his celebration and the CD itself with his big warm face, well, I cannot describe them, but this is our thanks to him for keeping swing alive.
From the label ZortMusic