The new Fantasy Big Band’s first show will be this Sunday, April 29th at the LIT Lounge on the Fantasy Springs Resort Casino floor in Indio, CA.
As the city of Indio, California rests up after hosting another week-long Coachella festival and prepares to receive droves of Americana music fans for the Stagecoach festival, Paul MacKey is busy preparing for his own special event this weekend. It isn’t Coachella or Stagecoach… Yet. But, it is a significant growth spurt for the jazz concert series he has produced for the past year.
A few years ago jazz guitarist Brian Nova, who has credits on a number of Grammy® Award winning albums,played a charity show at Fantasy Springs, in the new LIT Lounge. The show went so well that Brian’s buddies, bassist Larry Holloway and drummer Andy Fraga, asked their good friend and singer Paul MacKey, what he thought about doing a jazz concert series at Fantasy. Fast-forward to the present: Andy, Larry and Paul’s jazz series, “Jazz at the Twelve“, just celebrated its first anniversary of year-round monthly shows and now has a very special event coming up this weekend.
On Sunday, April 29th at 2pm in the LIT Lounge we will see the culmination of two years working to bring the best jazz artists to the desert for free performances, courtesy of the Cabzon Band of Mission Indians, the owners of the resort. This event will introduce the brand new “Fantasy Big Band“, a large jazz ensemble comprised of musicians from southern and northern California sponsored by Fantasy Springs. What better special guest to kick off the second year of the series than the man that sparked the whole idea for it after that charity show… Brian Nova returns to the LIT to lead the new big band’s debut performance.
Jazz Day Afternoon
The Fantasy Big Band show is a participating event of International Jazz Day—April 30th, the day after the big band show—an annual, global event organized by Herbie Hancock and the Thelonius Monk Institute aimed at promoting and educating publics around the world about the extraordinary genre. MacKey said “It’s such a wonderful thing to be a part of, the whole world uniting together in the name of jazz. It’s inspiring… especially for the young people. And believe me, they need it these days.” He went on to explain how easy it is to register any event of any size on the JazzDay.com website and follow and mention @IntlJazzDay or use the #JazzDay hashtag to boost your posts and draw interest from an international community of jazz lovers.
A Little Help From Our Friends
The Fantasy Springs jazz series’ media sponsor is 107.3 ModFM with radio personality Jeff Wolf, who interviewed the series’ host, Paul MacKey, on air at 9:30am on Tuesday, April 24th. Also, Brian Nova will do an on-air interview with Wolf on Friday, April 27th at about 8:30am. MacKey and Nova will also be interviewed on local TV news station KESQ‘s lifestyle segment “Eye on the Desert” with Patrick Evans airing on the Friday evening news. Also, AllAboutJazz.com and JazzNearYou.com, the online community started in 1995 by Michael Ricci, and their local Palm Springs events calendar admin, Brown Miller, have been promoting the show sitethe series on their platform.
The Boy$ in the Band
The Fantasy Big Band is sort of less than the some of its parts in a way. Many of its members are actually highly successful, even famous, for non-musical endeavors. Don’t get it wrong, they are all accomplished musicians and can roll with the best of them; they didn’t just buy their way into the music business. But, these guys are playing music for fun, because it’s their passion (maybe second passion) and because they love jazz! Does that make them more authentic… or, less authentic? Talented? Relevant? Present? No one can truly answer that until they’ve heard ’em play! So, if you’re curious to know what jazz sounds like when it’s played by a bunch of rich guys on their downtime instead of struggling musicians who drive Uber 5 days a week to pay the bills you might want to check this gig out.
Some of the most notable musicians’ stories are Dan Gordon and Brian Switzer.
Dan Gordon is the “Gordon” in “Gordon Biersch” the world renowned brewery based in the Bay Area. Gordon got his taste for beer and jazz in Göttingen, Germany where he was an exchange student. Today, his brewery is booming with nearly 30 restaurant locations worldwide, and the
San Jose Summer Jazz Fest which he helped to create is a massive success with 12 stages of entertainment for three days. Dan Gordon will be playing trombone in the brass section of the Fantasy Big Band on the 29th.
Brian Switzer is a career musician and educator who works with NorCal Jazz a jazz camp and private instruction service in northern California. He is the creator and publisher of the JazzDeck®, a musical “textbook in a box” that helps players of all levels build confidence and sharpen their chops as jazz soloists. Switzer also went on tour with the Grammy® Award winning band Train and has performed songs like “50 Ways to Say Goodbye” at some auspicious events such as The David Letterman Show, The Today Show, VH1, The Talk and a live concert on PBS. Brian Switzer will be playing trumpet in the brass section of the Fantasy Big Band at the LIT Lounge.