Blackbird Society Orchestra
Founded in 1997 by guitarist Richard Barnes , the band had one simple mission - to preserve the music of an era forgotten , the "Roaring 20s" , the "Jazz Age" , the "Gatsby Era" ( and not that silly movie with Leonardo DiCaprio ! ) . Sadly , the beginnings of Jazz , Blues, Swing and Popular music have been lost or overlookec in the History books and many of the pioneers of Jazz have all but been forgotten by the general public . Bands that once graced the airwaves in Model A's or on Victrolas are no longer heard unless their 78rpms are dusted off from boxes in the attic and heard through scratchy old recordings.
Eddie Lang ( South Philadelphia's own and the "father of Jazz guitar") , Joe Venuti ( his boyhood friend and master violinist) - both inspired a young Django/Grappeli nearly a decade before they emerged. McKinney's Cotton Pickers, Coon-Sanders Original Nighthawk Orchestra , King Oliver , Boyd Senter , Red Nichols , Bix Beiderbecke , Frankie Trumbaur , Johnny Dodds , Rudy Weidoff , Hoagy Carmichael , Fats Waller , Jelly Roll Morton.....all invented and created the new sound of American music called "Jass" - later changed to "Jazz" , long before the Swing era of the 1930s and Big Band era of the 1940s came along. And now, thanks to a dedicated bunch of muscians, it is brought back to life in Blackbird Society Orchestra .
What makes us unique and not just another trendy 20's band?
To make our music authentic we perform form a collection of nearly 500 original stock charts and arrangements , some used by the original bands to record and perform from. Spin an old 78rpm of Jean Goldkettes "Clementine" , Paul Whiteman's "From Monday On" , Bix Beiderbecke and the Wolverine's "Riverboat Shuffle"...then listen to Blackbird Society Orchestra recreate them note for note , breathing new life into these classic Jazz songs nearly 90 years later and without the scratches !
The musicians in BSO are professional, seasoned and have a genuine affection for the era and presenting quality music every time.
Our current 2014 set includes songs like:
"Good Old Days /Look at Him Now /Smile When the Raindrops Fall" ( 3 songs from Leroy Shields used by the Hal Roach Studios for the Little Rascals, Laurel & Hardy,Thelma Todd shorts)
"Clementine" - Jean Goldkette Orchestra featuring Bix, Lang/Venuti
"She's a Great great Girl " - Roger Wolf Kahn, also featuring Lang/Venuti
"Sugar Foot Stomp" - King Oliver, with a young Louis Armstrong on 2nd trumpet
"Am I Blue" - as heard in "Have or Have Not" starring Bogart and Bacall
"Burnin The Iceberg" - Jelly Roll Morton's Red Hot Peppers
" Yes Sir, That's My Baby " - Coon Sanders Original Nighthawk Orchestra
" Home" - a beautiful Armstrong classic
"Mahagony Hall Stomp" - Armstrong Swinging it!
"Black and Tan Fantasy" - Duke Ellington from the early Cotton Club days