Jazz-rock horn bands-typified by powerhouses such as Chicago, Blood, Sweet and Tears, Chase, Tower of Power, Don Ellis Orchestra, Buddy Rich and His Big Band, among others-reached their chartbusting zenith during the early 1970s. While they faded in popularity, they always maintained a fan base.
Perhaps for certain babyboomers like me, there was that exciting fusion of cool and brash jazz, hard rock and blues with cool roots going back to the early swing bands of the 1920s. That same excitement, I believe, is being rediscovered by a younger generation weaned on hip-hop nihilism, repetitive rock, and the lack of pop in 21st century America. You can hear the music again.
After decades of languishing in the shadows, the big sound of the classic jazz-rock horn band appears to be making a slow recovery.
Enter Satin and Steel-Vermont's contribution to the brassy revival. This band has paid its dues and deserves a high five for sticking to core principles-it was founded back in 1971 when BS&T, Chicago and others were taking jazz-rock fusion to new levels.
This writer agrees 100 percent with Dick Nordmeyer, Castleton Summer Concert on the Green's tireless volunteer promoter; he claims that Satin and Steel is synonymous with "wow". Amen! This local nine-piece band has to be heard to be believed. If you've never stood in front of a swingin'-ok, mea culpa, rockin'-horn band, you don't know what you've been missing. Having personally seen international wonders like BS&T and Chicago perform live back in the '70s, I am sincere when I say these guys really have the chops but with feet planted firmly in 2010.
On "Moon Day", Tuesday, July 20, at 7 p.m., you can experience Satin and Steel for yourself-live and free; the band promises to be one of the highpoints of the 2010 Castleton concert series.