From the opener to the final tune, the band played beautifully, eliciting praise from audience members such as Delmy Porras: "It was fabulous! Wonderful - they played great."
Bandleader Mike Graziadei said he is in awe of the band: "I get to stand in front of these guys every Wednesday at rehearsal and sometimes it raises the hair on my arms when I hear how well they play."
Not one of the 140 rapt listeners in the Nines banquet room could quibble with Porras, as the band played tunes like "Satin Doll," "I've Got You Under My Skin," "Savin' All My Love For You" and many more. In fact, the band's repertoire has expanded to the point where two-hour performances are now possible.
Ask any senior and they'll tell you there just isn't any music quite like the tunes played by big bands in the '30s, '40s and '50s. Benny Goodman, Les Brown, the Dorsey Brothers, Sammy Kaye, Charlie Spivak, Glenn Miller and many others, formed great musical organizations that gave birth to the "swing" music genre and got an entire generation of Americans out on the dance floor jitterbugging, swinging and swaying or dancing the foxtrot.
Back then, as is still true today, war was in the background of American life and people used music to temporarily blot out the horror taking place overseas. Music and dancing were fun, a commodity in short supply when casualty reports came in from the battlefront.
To say that music from that era is dying out would ignore the fact that big bands and their distinctive sounds are still thrilling audiences who remember when Glenn Miller's "String of Pearls" epitomized the music of that day, along with many other remarkable orchestrations. In fact, according to Graziadei, the Glenn Miller Band is still touring the country, getting $10,000 per performance, playing with the exact same configuration now used by the Summerset Big Band.
As proof of its enduring quality, younger generations are rediscovering big band sounds just as they have been doing for the past 70 years. The love of this music will, no doubt, continue into the foreseeable future.
One couple who appeared to be in their 30s came up to thank the Summerset Big Band for their performance. "We drive to Sacramento to dance to this kind of music," they told Graziadei. "Now, maybe we can stay at home and dance here."
Graziadei hopes to get a regular gig going at the Nines. "We'd like to play at least once a month, if they'll let us," he said.