By Scott L. Miley
The Herald Bulletin
ANDERSON, Ind. —
The cool classics of big band music are headed back to Anderson when the Cool City Band returns to the Paramount Theatre to open the annual Big Band Series.
The Cool City Band, based in Indianapolis, will kick off the series at 7:30 p.m. Thursday. Tickets are $25 for adults and $10 for students with identification.
Series tickets, which include concerts in 2013 by the Tommy Dorsey Orchestra on April 22 and The Carolyn Martin Swing Band on May 16, are $60. They can be purchased at the Paramount box office, 1124 Meridian Plaza, Anderson, through www.andersonparamount.org or by calling (765) 642-1234.
Thursday’s performance reunites the Cool City band with the Paramount, said Cool City’s director Ray Geesa. The band played the series in 2010.
“I am absolutely dumbfounded with the Paramount. It is an astonishing place to see … it is absolutely uplifting,” Geesa said.
The band will be joined by three singers:
“We also going to concentrate hard on making sure we have a number of instrumental where we feature ensemble work. … We have some of the best jazz players,” Geesa said.
Other band members are Forrest Means, a Grammy-nominated trumpet player; Danny Huey, trombone; John Nelson, alto sax; Tom Clarke, tenor sax; Tom Meyer, baritone sax; Jon Block, bass, and Craig Waltz, drums. Nelson is from Anderson and has traveled with the Guy Lombardo and Glenn Miller bands.
Geesa, a former music teacher, co-founded the Cool City Swing Band in 1999.
After working his way through college by playing piano in ragtime bars and night clubs, Geesa left the Jordan College of Music at Butler University with a masters degree and has performed in nearly every venue in Indianapolis. Geesa has led the band at more than 1,500 engagements across the Midwest since becoming band leader in the 1970s.
Among the selections are “Two O’Clock Jump,” Duke Ellington’s “Caravan” and Louis Armstrong’s “Jeepers Creepers.” The band has its own arranger, Geesa said.