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Sunday, November 11, 2018: 2018 Battle of the Big Bands at Greenfields

updated Nov 10: tickets may also be purchased at the door according to new information from Greenfields

On another Sunday night 80 years ago, two big bands full of big names - many recognizable to even casual jazz fans today - took to the stage of The Savoy Ballroom in a historic evening of swing battle. The bands were there to compete for the attention and praise of jazz fans and swing dancers. In an evening filled with tension and drama, Count Basie’s band went head-to-head in a tight competition against drummer Chick Webb’s band. Read the Downbeat article about this epic battle.

Ottawa jazz fans can experience some of the same excitement hearing two of Ottawa’s big bands: Big Band Ottawa and The Wild Cards, going to “battle” this Sunday (Remembrance Day) while helping raising money for the Support our Troops charity.

The evening will be a friendly event full of music, but not “cutting.”

“Both bands will be playing their best in this fun challenge. We are all friends and perform in each others' groups to help out from time to time,” Robert Vogelsang, Music Director, trombonist, and vocalist of Big Band Ottawa wrote OttawaJazzScene.ca.

“We all love Big Band music and this is a great way to have lots of fun and help our troops on Remembrance Day.”

The Wild Cards band manager and trombonist Tracy Persaud wrote “We’re working together to raise funds for Support Our Troops, but each band still wants to be “the best. What’s really interesting is that two of The Wild Card’s regular members are also members of BBO. Since BBO is older and ‘our guys’ joined them first, they’ll be playing with BBO and we got alternates to sit in their chairs.

Keeping repertoire and solos secret has been a challenge and that makes this battle a little juicier for all of the musicians.

“If The Wild Cards has a strategy, it’s simply to look good and perform well.”

The bands will take turns sounding and looking their best in alternating 40-minute sets. It’s not possible to fit 35 musicians on the Greenfields stage at one time.

For fans of big band music, from historic swing tunes to more recent compositions, it will be a rare evening to hear a great deal of big band music for a very modest price, while helping raise money (about 1/3 of the proceeds) for the Support our Troops.

The first Battle of the Big Bands takes place on Sunday, November 11, 2018 from 5 to 8 p.m. at  Greenfields Gastro Public House, 900 Greenbank Road, Barrhaven [map]. Tickets ($15) are available at the door and also in advance from eventbrite.ca.

Get there! Greenfields Gastro Public House is served by OC Transpo route 170 (5 min walk) or Transitway route 95 (14 min walk). Try the OC Transpo Trip Planner to find your trip to the show

Get the details of this show and dozens of more jazz events every week in our Live Jazz Guide, available exclusively to OttawaJazzScene.ca donors and subscribers.