The best band of their type in the world ... The Royal Society is solid, tight, brilliant ... It is at once a first-rate dance orchestra, a fine jazz ensemble (with strong soloists) ... Carla Normand is the bands perfect singer ... a bright, sure-pitched gem of a voice.
Excellent ... Splendid ... First Rate ... Fine ... Wondrous
Royal Society is a class act in every way ... Among the high spots, Frederick Hodges continues to knock me out with his dead-center replications of the technically demanding novelty-rag-infused white pop piano licks of the twenties. Multi-instrumentalist Neely is not only a strong soloist but also an engaging vocalist, evoking various period male singers from Ted Lewis, Rudy Vallee on up ... Carla Normands complete grasp of the idiom and just right pipes are impressive as always ... possessing impeccable diction, accurate pitch and a voice that has just the right blend of warmth and cutting edge ... Carla is always a pleasure to hear
Lovingly and precisely recaptures the sound in a irrepressible, irresistible style ... Neely deserves a national medal ... for preserving this music with such affection and accuracy ... the whole idea soars when Normand steps to the mike and, in her lithe ... voice, sings Get Out and Get Under The Moon (which is so Etting-ish its spooky)
It would be difficult to select a highlight from their program because each of the numbers was different and filled with zest. They seemed to have captured the best ... of the big band era, keeping the audience interested in not only what was being played but in what they were doing as well.
The best band of their type in the world...The Royal Society is solid, tight, brilliant ... It is at once a first-rate dance orchestra, a fine jazz ensemble (with strong soloists) ... Carla Normand is the bands perfect singer ... a bright, sure-pitched gem of a voice.
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Don Neelys Royal Society Jazz Orchestra,
Carla Normand, Frederick Hodges, and Don Neelys Rhythm Aces.
Consider Hiring a Live Vintage Jazz and Swing Band For Your Special Event!Or Even A Live Dixieland or Speakeasy Band For Your Theme Party!
Don Neelyand the Royal Society Jazz Orchestra and their smaller ensembles of the San Francisco Bay Area affectionately and authentically recapture the excitement, charm, and romance of the celebrated music originating from the 1920s and 1930s - often known as theJazz Ageand earlySwing Era.
The Roaring Twenties, the decade when George Gershwin was the toast of New York for his famous jazz inspired piano concerto Rhapsody in Blue, performed with Paul Whitemans Orchestra. When Fats Waller wowed the world with his pianistic genius and his iconic song Aint Misbehavin. When Duke Ellington starred at the Cotton Club in Harlem, and when Louis Armstrong played what came to be known asDixieland Jazzor New Orleans Jazz with King Oliver in Chicago. The decade of the 1930s during the Great Depression was when Cole Porter wrote his unforgettable hit I Get A Kick Out of You, and Benny Goodman was the King Of Swing, and film musicals from Hollywood kept the population humming their catchy tunes. It was a time of immense creative flowering which ushered in an extraordinary renaissance of music and art. The recent television show,Boardwalk Empirehas introduced many newcomers to the authentic sound of 1920s jazz.
Neely and his talented crew of vocalists and soloists are dedicated to preserving and performing the music from that artistic renaissance through their live performances and CDs. Neely and his players are elegantly spotlighted on each song, and their thrilling solos make
The Royal Society Jazz Orchestras Music Lights Up A Speakeasy Party
Speaking of chills, when singersteps into the spotlight, her expressive and lilting style reveals the melodic and lyrical heart and soul of the song, whether its a snappy swing number or a smoldering torch song. Frederick Hodges brings smiles of delight with his virtuostic piano playing and whimsical singing style. Our smaller ensembles play Romantic Background Music ideal for cocktail parties, weddings, and elegant soirees, and of course play their signature sound of the Roaring Twenties, Dixieland Jazz and Vintage Swing. The R.S.J.O. has performed at virtually all of the high profile events in San Francisco including opening night balls for the San Francisco Opera, Symphony, and Ballet and for many stylish 1920s and 1930s theme parties and lovely vintage weddings. The R.S.J.O. has also performed for many events sponsored by the creative Art Deco Society of California including:
The Gatsby Summer Afternoon featuring a Roaring Twenties Theme and includes numerous Charlestons, Foxtrots and lovely dance troop The Decobelles.
The Art Deco Preservation Ball featuring Vintage 1930s and early 40s Swing
San Franciscois famous for many things. One of them is the Citys vibrant and varied jazz scene, with its history going back to the 1890s when Ragtime was played in the red light district of the Barbary Coast. Jazz, and eventually Swing spread to the speakeasies, swank hotels, theatres, and night spots, and continues today. The Royal Society Jazz Orchestra lovingly specializes in the authentic hot jazz that was the rage of the Great Gatsby Era of the Roaring Twenties, and the exciting Big Band Swing of the 1930s Depression Era exemplified by such artists as Benny Goodman and Count Basie whose Swing music ignited a musical craze that is alive today.
Don Neelys Royal Society Jazz Orchestra
Lovingly and precisely recaptures the sound in an irrepressible, irresistible style ... Neely deserves a
national medal ... for preserving this music with such affection and accuracy ...
perfect in capturing the full essence of the past ... the band plays with an effervescence ... Neely s group really has the sound down pat ... Carla Normand s voice is akin to singers of that period - Leah Ray, Helen Rowland and Annette Hanshaw as examples. Normand is really the find.
- Rapport, Contemporary guide to Books Art & Entertainment,
Capturing the feeling, phrasing and intonation of bands that recorded over fifty years ago is not easy, as is proven constantly by contemporary ensemble that try. But the R.S.J.O. is more successful and versatile ... placing its primary emphasis on the spirit of the originals, not on slavish, note-for-note accuracy.
Bandleader, arranger, reed player,songwriter, vocalist
...Normand is a bright, sure pitched gem of a voice...is the bands perfect singer (with her Depression-era inflections) She sings Ruth Etting better than Etting; and there are touches of Libby Holman, Mildred Bailey, Annette Hanshaw and Ethel Waters in Normand s voice, too.Her years of working with the Royal Society band have taught her how to sing within an instrumental ensemble, not merely in front or on top. of an accompanying group.- Phillip Elwood,Jazz CriticSan Francisco ChronicleSan Francisco Examiner...the whole idea soars when Normand steps to the mike and, in her lithe voice, sings Get Out and Get Under The Moon (which is so Etting-ish its spooky)
- Gerald NachmanSan Francisco Chronicle
Carla Normand has a warm, rich voice and sings in a boldly confident style ... all of which she delivers with awareness of the lyrics and the nuances of the composer s craft.
We invite you to experience the scintillating sounds of 1920s Jazz and Big Band Swing
in San Francisco, played by The Royal Society Jazz Orchestra and our smaller ensembles.
Don Neelys Royal Society Jazz Orchestra with Carla Normand and Frederick Hodges
the R.S.J.O. has matured and developed a tough, elegant art moderne surface to their work-they sound remarkably like a big-league hot dance band ... Neely is excellent at reconstructing reed styles of the day, especially on clarinet and alto ... the craftmanship here is excellent, and the music is consistently interesting, imaginative and varied. Don Neely has organized a highly entertaining show ... Carla Normand ... has clearly listened to the great song spinners, Lee Wiley, MildredBailey, Billie Holiday, et al.- and
absorbed their intuitive approaches to phrasing and intonation. Only a handful of stylists survived the test of time, and she has paid close attention to their work, continuing the tradition respectfully but with fire and personal elegance ... She sings with confidence and elan and projects a solid feeling of mastery over the songs.