Where can my girlfriend and I go see Glenn Miller play live?
August 11, 2012 7:16 PM   Subscribe

Where can my girlfriend and I go see Glenn Miller play live?

Okay, maybe not Glenn HIMSELF, but are there any actual Big Band venues/nightclubs still out there, like in the old movies, with a band shell and a band belting out the top hits of 1938?

We're in NJ, but I'd be interested to know of anything in the country that fits this.
posted by John Kenneth Fisher to Media & Arts (12 answers total)
Not a venue per se, but the Glen Miller Orchestra does appear to still exist.
posted by BungaDunga at 7:19 PM on August 11, 2012 [1 favorite]

Oh, and I can't vouch for this one, but vintage air shows are lots of fun.
posted by BungaDunga at 7:23 PM on August 11, 2012

If you're in or near DC on a weekend they're playing, check out Doc Scantlin and His Imperial Palms Orchestra.
posted by arco at 7:26 PM on August 11, 2012

You can hire bands like Lester Lanin for big parties. Crash a wedding?
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 7:45 PM on August 11, 2012

Wow, because you're in New Jersey I can recommend that you look for news of the World War II Dinner Dance, an event to fund the Center for WWII Studies and Conflict Resolution at Brookdale Community College.

There are actually a LOT of big bands active out there. I mainly know about them through the swing dance scene, which as you might imagine features a lot of these bands at dance events.

So I actually suggest you take a close look at the events calendar and in the forums at Yehoodi, the primary central clearinghouse for all things Lindy Hop and swing dance. For many swing events, people take pains to create a period atmosphere, props and sets included, so you can get experiences that give a decent illusion of time travel. And many events aren't just for and about dance, they just include dance as an aspect, so you might find some that are more focused on retro nightclub-like scenes than on dancing, if you don't like dancing. (But it's fun, and by actually dancing to the music, you really develop an understanding of exactly what about this music made it so popular and so much fun to move to).

Also, too bad it's the end of summer, because a great place to catch a lot of big orchestra's is NYC's Midsummer Night's Swing series at Lincoln Center.
posted by Miko at 8:35 PM on August 11, 2012 [1 favorite]

As BungaD says, the Miller estate keeps the band alive as the "Orchestra." As I understand it, there are actually several touring groups under that name. They are top notch, and it's an awesome thing to hear!
posted by quarterframer at 8:50 PM on August 11, 2012

Big Bands by state
Another listing site

Loads of listings - check the band sites for public gigs.
posted by Miko at 9:03 PM on August 11, 2012

I just went to this show at the Hollywood Bowl. While not in NJ, it shows that this kind of stuff exists.
posted by haykinson at 12:04 AM on August 12, 2012

Check the website of your local high school. Pretty much every high school in the country maintains a 20 piece "jazz band" which plays the golden age Big Band instrumental repertoire and the modern compositions which hybridize that baseline with later developments in small-ensemble jazz and pop. They play at school assemblies, community events, etc., and $5 would be on the high end of a ticket price. Bonus is after the show you'll get to hear some hardcore 16 year old white and Asian geeks destined for engineering or pre-med talk about how great the "gig" was and how sweet their "axe" felt under them when they were soloing.
posted by MattD at 6:00 AM on August 12, 2012 [1 favorite]

The Tallahassee Swing Band plays at the American Legion Hall at Lake Ella every Tuesday night for $7. There is a great mix of dancers, literally aged 16 (and younger) -95 (and older) years old on the dance floor. It's always fun hearing people who saw Glenn Miller or Artie Shaw in their heyday criticizing the clarinet player. (who is, IMHO, excellent.)
posted by Cookiebastard at 10:08 AM on August 12, 2012

In the 1980s I saw the Glenn Miller Orchestra, most likely during the Dick Gerhart era. I can't remember which of the legendary performers were still around at that time, but there were still a few around who joined the band on that tour. Awesome concert, and the only time I've ever gone with my mom to see live music!
posted by kuppajava at 11:31 AM on August 12, 2012

Tommy Igoe's Birdland Big Band plays every Friday evening, and The Arturo O'Farrill Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra plays two shows every Sunday night, at Birdland on 44th Street between 9 and 10 Avenues in New York City. Enjoy.
posted by jcrcarter at 2:41 PM on August 12, 2012

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