Cab Calloway Orchestra brings swingin’ show to Carson City

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The Cab Calloway Orchestra legacy lives on through his grandson, Chris Calloway, and the performance comes to Carson Community Center this weekend.

The jazz orchestra makes its first appearance in the capital city. Calloway said it is his first time here and he’s not sure if his father ever performed here either. The band also reached out and has some locals joining to play, including vocalist Jakki Ford.

“We’ll have some wonderful players,” Calloway said. “I’m really happy about the band and the venue. I’m looking forward to it.”

The show will be very similar to traditional Cab Calloway Orchestra shows. Calloway said it is in his grandfather’s style, but he takes their own interpretation of it. The show includes a variety of swing music and big band music of the 1930s and ’40s. Calloway will be dancing around in a zoot suit leading the band with baton. He also sings and plays guitar on some tunes. He really believes in audience participation and getting everyone involved, he said.

“It should be a lot of fun,” he said. “It’s really a show band — a good time sorta band.”

Calloway enjoys keeping the legacy of his grandfather alive. He learned plenty while touring with his grandfather. Calloway graduated from New England Conservatory of Music in Boston, and started touring with the band again in 1998 — four years after his grandfather passed away.

With more than 20 years leading the band, he said he enjoys it immensely and appreciates it taking him around the country and around the world. The band performed in France; they opened a new Cotton Club in Tokyo; and they’ve done some Battle of the Band events with Glen Miller Orchestra and several others.

“People really like it (the show), that’s why I’ve been doing it since 1998 continuously,” he said. “It’s very uplifting and inspires the audience.”

There will be plenty more local talent included. The band will include Tony Savage on drums, his brother Ron Savage on piano and Joe McKenna on upright bass. Included in the horn section are: on saxophone, Joel Edwards, Nate Cline, Jeff Leep and Eddy Evans. In the brass, on lead trumpet is Paul Lenz, with Larry Machado. Many of these musicians performed the Cab Calloway Show under Calloway Brooks in Reno at the Nugget in March 2006.

Calloway said he is very fortunate to play for the folks of Carson City and thankful. He is looking forward to his first trip here to share his grandfather’s music.


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