Week Three of Lincoln Center's 23rd season of Midsummer Night Swing runs from Tuesday through Saturday, July 12-July 16. The event takes place at the band shell in Damrosch Park, on West 62nd Street between Columbus and Amsterdam Avenues.
The week kicks off with a night of Big Easy fun when the Palmetto Bug Stompers make their New York debut on July 12. Comprised of some of the best players of traditional jazz in a city full of terrific jazz players, the Palmetto Bug Stompers started off playing in the streets before moving indoors to the clubs along Frenchmen Street. The all-Crescent City evening will start out with a swing dance lesson by one of New Orleans' best dancing twosome, Chance Bushman and Amy Johnson. On July 13 the dance genre changes wildly but the mood stays lively when Swing presents a traditional Irish "ceili"- celebratory music for dancing. Four top musicians are coming from Ireland - three veterans of the famous Shaskeen Ceili Band plus three-time All Ireland fiddler Maeve Donnelly - to get the crowd on its feet.
On July 14 The Hot Sardines take over the band shell to play hot blues and some sizzling early jazz and French Chanson. In honor of Bastille Day there will be a 1920s French flapper costume contest, with prizes for the best. Colombian cumbia is in the air, and on the floor, on July 15 when father and son Lisandro Meza and Juan José Meza perform. There is sure to be some swing and salsa in the mix the next afternoon, Kids Dance!, July 16, when Rodney Lopez from Dancing Classrooms teaches kids aged 6 to 10 the basics of ballroom dance. Kids Dance! is a free event.
Swing wraps up its season with a blaze of dancing on July 16, with the Harlem Renaissance Orchestra playing a tribute to the late band leader Illinois Jacquet. The Orchestra's special guest will be Billy Harper, an electrifying sax player (much like Jacquet) who blows like nobody's business. Between sets there will be the 3rd Annual Ambassador Prize Dance Contest, with couples competing for prizes to see who are the top lindy hoppers in New York.
Midsummer Night Swing 2011 is sponsored by Macy's.
Midsummer Night Swing is made possible in part by grants from Daisy and Paul Soros
and Charina Endowment Fund.
Each evening of Midsummer Night Swing is a ticketed event, with a special, free, ticketed event opening the season on Monday, June 27th. The night begins with a dance lesson at 6:30 pm for all levels with some of New York's foremost instructors. Lessons are included in the price of admission. Live music and dancing is at 7:30 pm until 10 pm. All events take place on an elevated dance floor in Damrosch Park.
New this year: Restaurant Associates has developed a new Street Food BBQ program for Damrosch Park created by their very own celebrity chef, Ed Brown (Ed's Chowder House, "Iron Chef"). They will offer nightly food and cocktail specials inspired by the country or region of the performers. For example, a New Orleans specialty such as jambalaya might be offered the night the Palmetto Bug Stompers perform, or grilled carne asada when Aurora y Zon el Barrio take the stage. Prices will be under $10.
Tickets and passes are on sale now. Multi-evening Swing Passes are priced at $90 for six nights, and $160 for the full season. Tickets for individual evening events are $17.
The Swing box office is located in the lobby of Avery Fisher Hall, Broadway and 65th Street. Tickets for individual events and passes can be purchased in advance at the Avery Fisher box office or beginning at 5:30 pm on the night of the event at a box office in Damrosch Park. All major credit cards will be accepted. Tickets and passes can also be purchased through CenterCharge, 212-721-6500, or by logging on to www.MidsummerNightSwing.org. Twitter users can sign up to follow Midsummer Night Swing @LCSwing for ongoing news and updates.
Rain Policy Midsummer Night Swing makes every effort to present each event of the season, as long as unpredictable weather allows. Performance cancellations due to inclement weather will not be announced until 8:30 pm on show night. In the case of cancellation, ticket holders are entitled to exchange for another performance or a refund. Pass holders are not entitled to a refund. If a performance has begun and is cancelled after 8:30 pm, exchanges or refunds are not offered.
The schedule for Week Three:
Tuesday, July 12
Palmetto Bug Stompers Old-time Swing, Traditional Jazz **New York debut**
A former street band turned Big Easy institution, the Palmetto Bug Stompers play traditional and New Orleans jazz in a rough-hewn, joyful style. All of the band's members play with some of the other great jazz bands in New Orleans as well as with the Big Stompers, and rub-board player and vocalist Washboard Chaz is at the center of the annual cult favorite "ChazFest." Standard numbers include such chestnuts as "Big Butter and Egg Man," Farewell Blues," and "Walking with the King," all guaranteed to make dancers feel good and get them on their feet for a night of Crescent City fun.
Lesson: Chance Bushman and Amy Johnson of New Orleans, Louisiana
DJ: DJ Eve
Wednesday, July 13
Charlie Harris, Maeve Donnelly, Geraldine Cotter and Eamonn Cotter Traditional Irish, Céili
Long before discos and clubs were swinging hips and moving feet, the Irish social world revolved around céili, a lively gathering featuring fiddles, flutes and accordions producing Irish folk music for dancing in country houses. As part of a citywide celebration, some of Ireland's finest traditional musicians, Charlie Harris (button accordion), Eamonn Cotter (flute) and sister Geraldine Cotter (piano) all veterans of the Shaskeen Ceili Band and thee-time all-Ireland fiddler Maeve Donnelly, are coming together with guests to recreate this tradition in an irresistible night of Irish dancing.
Lesson: Megan Downes
DJ: Kevin Westley
Made possible in part with the support of Culture Ireland as part of Imagine Ireland, a year of Irish Arts in America in 2011.
Thursday, July 14
The Hot Sardines Jazz and French chanson
Steeped in hot jazz, salty stride piano and foot stomping blues like Louis Armstrong and Fats Waller used to make, The Hot Sardines' love of sounds from nearly a century ago also extends to Parisian music hall chansons. A tap dancer and guest accordionist Mia Stroika will round out this special Bastille Day fête. There will be a contest to judge the best flapper era costume, with prizes offered.
Lesson: Angela Harriel
DJ: DJ Dhundee
Presented in association with Gemini & Scorpio's Swing House.
Friday, July 15
Lisandro Meza and Juan José Meza Cumbia, Vallenato
A native of Medellín, Colombia, Lisandro Meza is a master of vallenato sabanero, an accordion-driven style of music that originated in Mexico. He forged a sound that was a cross between Dominican merengue, Louisiana zydeco and Tex-Mex norteño, all the while growing the popularity of the Colombian dance music called cumbia. Now his son, Juan José, is a recognized cumbia artist as well. He sings and plays percussion in his 12-piece band, keeping alive the vallenato tradition for a new generation.
Lesson: Ricardo Torres
DJ: Geko Jones (Qué Bajo?!)
Saturday, July 16 from 3:00 to 4:30pm
Ballroom, Tango, Swing
Kids get in on the act with a special afternoon session (ideal for the entire family) with teacher Rodney Lopez from Dancing Classrooms - seen in Mad Hot Ballroom, the 2005 documentary about teaching ballroom dance in NYC public schools. He'll get youngsters off on the right foot, teaching them the basics of ballroom, tango and swing.
Saturday, July 16
Harlem Renaissance Orchestra with special guest Billy Harper, "A Tribute to Illinois Jacquet" Big Band Swing
Jump to the big band sound of the Harlem Renaissance Orchestra, a group that was formed more than twenty years ago to revive the great sounds from the big band era. The band recognizes the masters of the big band sound: Benny Goodman, Duke Ellington, Count Basie, Lionel Hampton and many others, and plays their music like it was yesterday. The band's special guest on July 16th will be Billy Harper, the award-winning saxophonist who has played and toured with Max Roach, Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers as well as his own Billy Harper Quintet, recording more than four dozen albums in the process.
Lesson: Margaret Batiuchok
DJ: Ryan Mascaro
On the 16th there will also be the 3rd Annual Ambassador's Prize Dance Contest, honoring the late Frankie Manning, lindy hopper extraordinaire.
Midsummer Night Swing 2011 is sponsored by Macy's.
Midsummer Night Swing is made possible in part by grants from Daisy and Paul Soros and Charina Endowment Fund.
Additional support for Midsummer Night Swing 2011 is provided by Baisley Powell Elebash Fund, Amtrak, Zabar's and Zabar's.com, Samba 99 Antioxidant SuperFruit Bars, Great Performers Circle, Chairman's Council, and Friends of Lincoln Center.