June 14, 2024
Lady K and the Kings of Swing
Live at Blackhawk
Kayjazz – 2010

Deeply entrenched in swing, immersed in the history of their craft and with years of experience as veteran jazz musicians, Lady K and the Kings of Swing is a 17-piece Frank Sinatra-style big band recreating the sounds of Duke Ellington, Cole Porter, Count Basie, George Gershwin, Stan Kenton, Frank Sinatra and beyond.

Headed by saxophonist Kaye Leedham, the San Francisco-based Kings of Swing exude the excitement and energy found in the tradition of historic big bands, but with a modern twist on the classics, creating a progressive and original sound. Leedham thoughtfully chooses charts showcasing her band; “I choose songs that speak to me, that have interesting chord changes for a soloist to work with, and that have a sub-melody or story that wants to be told. I’m in love with old classics; the composers had a true sense of melody that is epic and timeless. And these classics form the perfect canvas for each soloist to tell their story.” 

Bandleader Leedham typically chats with the audience between tunes, sharing short anecdotes about the music and the original artists. The performances are a fun, historical tribute that guests walk away from having learned something about the music.

In describing the way the band works, Leedham says, “I think the band has come into its own in the way that good friends become accustomed to each other. There’s a tangible energy in the room when we run a tune down well as a band, and the soloist pulls all of us into the story. And I think the soloists really do have the horsepower to tell their stories.”

There are some extraordinary musical pedigrees in the band.  In addition to being some of the most talented instrumentalists in the Bay Area, well over half of the musicians in the band are music teachers and professors. 

Members of the band have performed with such headliner entertainers as Duke Ellington, Frank Sinatra, Woody Herman, Louie Bellson, Tony Bennett, Joe Williams, Sammy Davis Jr.,Ella Fitzgerald, Mel Torme, Nancy Wilson, Natalie Cole, Guy Lombardo, Peggy Lee, Thad Jones/Mel Lewis band, Earl Hines, Paul Anka, Diane Schurr, Tex Beneke, and Phil Woods.

Vocalist Dale Head ignites the band with his solid musicianship, dynamic vocals, and a style all of his own.

A noteworthy link between this album and the great jazz ballrooms of the past is that every track was recorded in a live performance, on stage in front of large live audiences.

Leedham wants to be sure to give credit to the musical team, as well as Bruce Mishkit, Eric Dannewitz, and Lincoln Adler, for their technical expertise.

In closing Leedham says, “The band is not about me; it’s about the alchemy of the group’s creative energy that makes this team exceptional. For most of us in the group, life without this music would create an unbearable void. It is a privilege to be a part of this celebration of big band music.”.

Their first CD release, “Live at Blackhawk featuring Dale Head” was released on January 19th, 2010.

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