REVIEW: Cab Calloway Orchestra dazzles Carson City

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Carson City was hep to the jive Saturday night when the Cab Calloway Orchestra directed by C. Calloway Brooks took the town in an Americana time capsule.

The Bob Boldrick Theatre came alive as Chris Calloway Brooks led an orchestra to perform his grandfather’s music. Calloway Brooks made the show a vibrant, fun event that many people may have only experienced in black and white through a screen.

Calloway Brooks set the tone with his costume right from the start. His silver glittery jacket reflected every bit of light coming his way.

The band started out with the Calloway Boogie, with Calloway Brooks dancing, and singing and swinging the baton.

The show began bursting with energy. The audience was roaring and clapping with every chance they had and giving the energy right back to the band. There were parts of songs for the audiences to sing, and there led the rhythm when he wanted everyone to clap along to add to the music.

The stage was the perfect size to fit the 11 members of the band and then allow Calloway Brooks to use the rest of the space for his dancing. He took full advantage of the space to walk around and dance. The band performed other popular tunes and took on a Duke Ellington song. It showed off the power of the band and let Calloway Brooks sit back for a moment as the band shared the spotlight.

The band was crisp, loud, brassy and classy. The players were all professionals, locals picked and who had plenty of experience. You could see the enjoyment in each other’s faces during solos and some exciting moments coming from Calloway Brooks.

The band included: 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.

Jakki Ford glided onto the stage like a goddess covered in glittery jewelry around her headband, neck and wrist. She had a fashionable cape-like garment that kind of resembled a giant flower, sort of like a pink rose. With smaller roses attached to it all over. Her voice echoed through the theater with elegant style. She helped add another voice to the show.

Calloway Brooks had a few costume changes during the show. One outfit included a gleaming red jacket and white hat. He shared with the audience all the pieces of his suit and their origin. He said it is truly a piece of American culture because how it blends in so many cultures together. His other outfits included a lavender shade and then finished in white.

Calloway Brooks shared something different than his grandfather’s shows and played guitar. It took the show in a different direction and. The theater was completely silent in his brief pause between his banter and beginning to play. You could hear every note on the guitar and you could see how much fun Calloway Brooks was having in his face. The other bandmembers were in awe and clapping their hands when Calloway Brooks was picking the guitar making some very high pitched noises and kept going when it seemed hard to do.

The show was professional and dazzled the audience and was sure to put the audience in a good mood. It was a treat to see a historic Cab Calloway show carried on through his grandson.

Brewery Arts Center Notes: Before the show, BAC President Mike Wiencek told the audience the Brewery Art Center’s Levitt AMP Concert Series is about 95 percent complete. He said Tommy Castro & The Painkillers is set to kick off the free outdoor concert series this year on June 6, a little earlier start than past years’ shows.


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