Monday, June 22, 2009

Portland Ukulele Big Band

Jim D'Ville posted this terrific video of the inaugural performance of the Portland Ukulele Big Band. Sez Jim:

"James Hill presented a three-day workshop at this year's Portland Ukulele Festival entitled "Ukulele Big Band". James wrote a big band arrangement of Alexander's Ragtime Band and then taught the different "horn" parts to the class. On day three, the Portland Ukulele Big Band made its debut performance in the Student Union at Reed College. You had to be there! The sound was incredible. I can't wait until next year to hear The Portland Ukulele Bigger Band!"
What a great concept. They really swing at the end. And a fun video, too. Many well-known ukulelists make appearances! Link

Update: I just got off the phone with Jim D'Ville. Jim filled me in on how this all came together. A jet-lagged, but indefatigable James Hill got up at 4:30 am Portland time (James came from Halifax) and cranked out the whole arrangement in seven or eight hours. You may know James as an amazing player, but as Jim pointed out, he's an equally passionate teacher. So his arrangement was written not only in layers, but broken down by skill level, so uke players of all skill levels could play in the band. Then, if you can believe it, everyone learned it in something less than four hours over three days. Incredible. And as D'Ville was quick to point out, the sound quality on the video does not do the performance justice. (He shot it in video mode on his still camera.)

What will James do next to top this arrangement? Why think small. I have just two things to say. Stan. Kenton.


Anonymous said...

Really cool.. I thought Del Rey was gonna bob her hat off at the end! Ukester Brown

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