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Dave Dickey Big Band Plans Gig Near Richmond Heights, Clayton

The 17-piece band will play jazz from the catalogs of Woody Herman, Count Basie, Stan Kenton and others from 6 to 9 p.m. Sunday at the Kirkwood Station Brewing Company.

With a 17-piece big band heavy on brass instruments, the Dave Dickey Big Band will deliver room-filling tunes during their Sunday performance in Kirkwood.

“The band’s got a big sound,” band leader and trombone player Dave Dickey said. “They’re all professional guys, so they’re all very good soloists and players.”

The performance will be 6 to 9 p.m. at the , formerly known as Highlands Brewing Co., about 20 minutes from and . The location features a good restaurant and a great area for music.

“It’s a big room—it’s fun,” he said. “They actually have a dance floor. We had a gig there last January, and so many people showed up, it was great. We’re probably going to add tables on the dance floor, make it like a club theme, with the candles on the tables.”

This will be enhanced by a wide-ranging play list.

“We’re gonna mix it up,” Dickey said. “The last show we did in January, I did more really in your face, a lot of like high note trumpet stuff. We’ll still have some of that, but I think on this gig we’re going to do more of a mixture of contemporary stuff and swing stuff.

"I want to add some more Count Basie and Woody Herman for this Sunday. And we will do some more contemporary stuff, some Tom Matta. The University of North Texas has a really famous jazz program. I was in their top band back in about ’97-’98 called the One O’Clock Lab Band. We have some of their charts we’ll be doing.”

There will also be solo opportunities for members of the band.

“Our lead alto player, Randy Hamm, is a really well-known saxophonist who teaches at Southwest Missouri State (now Missouri State University) down in Springfield,” Dickey said. “So I have some features for him, like a ballad and a swing tune. And I have a couple of trombone features for myself. Mostly I direct, in front of the band, but there are a couple of songs I like to be featured on.”

In addition to playing works by Herman and Basie, the band will play songs popularized by Stan Kenton, Maynard Ferguson and John Fedchock, the trombonist and musical director for Herman’s band during the last decade of Herman’s life.

“Now he’s got his own big band in New York City, and he sent me a lot of his charts,” Dickey said.

Last time the band played the Kirkwood Station Brewery, people loved the music so much they were dancing right in front of the stage.

“It’s great,” he said of the enthusiastic audience response. “It not only makes me feel good, but it makes the guys feel good on stage. It makes them play better. As a jazz musician, I’ve played in venues where sometimes there’re only three people in the crowd, and sometimes it’s a large audience. But normally we have more fun when we see people enjoying the music in a full house. You see people dance, you see people yell and clap after soloists, because they really appreciate the solos in the band, and the tunes that we play.”

The band will play two sets of about one-hour in length. During the 45-minute intermission, the top jazz band from will perform. Dickey’s band, which will perform the last Sunday of each month this year, plans to feature jazz bands from local high schools during all their intermissions. Dickey and many of the other band members are music instructors, and their students—the next generation of musicians—are showing an interest in the big band style.

“All the youth who come to (concerts), that’s important, because that’s the future of our music,” Dickey said.

With all the music genres available now, big band music might seem to be yesterday’s news. But just as Dickey got into jazz and big band by listening to the wide-ranging style of Maynard Ferguson, this current generation of young musicians are getting an appreciation from hip groups like Gordon Goodwin’s Big Phat Band.

“That’s the band that gets kids excited about jazz today,” Dickey said. “It’s like all the top studio and jazz guys in Los Angeles. And he writes really challenging music, and fun music, and well-known tunes, but with a jazz feel. And he adds some rock and funk to his music. So a lot of these kids are listening to that kind of music and getting excited, again, about big band music.”

Dickey loves seeing this enthusiasm. During their January show, they didn’t have a high school band to play during intermission.

“I had a blast,” he said. “It was a 45-minute break, and I was talking with kids the whole 45 minutes. They come up to the stage, they’re asking questions about the music, they wanted to talk to like the lead trumpet player, or the lead trombone. So that was fun, not only seeing them in the
crowd enjoying it, but just wanting to ask questions during the intermissions or after the gigs.”

The Kirkwood Station Brewing Company is located at 105 East Jefferson in Kirkwood. Admission to the performance is $5 per person. For more information, call Kirkwood Station at 314-966-2739.

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