What It’s Like to Be a Big Band Leader – Travel Channel

[music playing] GEORGE GEE (VOICEOVER):
New York City is the capital of the world. In this particular
case, it’s the big band swing capital of the world. Hello, I’m George Gee, leader of
the George Gee Swing Orchestra. We are here at Swing 46
Jazz and Supper Club. Big band music is a
true American art form. It’s usually an ensemble of
at least 10 to 17 musicians and usually with a
fantastic singer upfront. To be a big band
leader, you need to have a warm persona
on stage so you can connect with the
musicians and the audience. I’m really inspired by
bandleaders such as Cab Calloway, who’s
manic persona defines his total control onstage. Then there are bandleaders such
as the Great Count Basie, who is the total opposite, where
his mellow band leading belies the fact that he is an
absolute musical control on the bandstand. I like to be in control. But at the same time, I
like to be nice and loose. Now here’s another one of
those big Count Basie numbers that’s got a little bit of
boogie-woogie feel to it. GEORGE GEE (VOICEOVER):
Big band music and swing dancing is a social act. It’s a social interaction. It involves cocktails. Families and lives
start in a ballroom. It’s a blessing to be able to
do this day in and day out. Big band music is happy music. And honestly, in
this time and age, a little joy and happy
music is just what we need. You know what they say,
swing makes you happy. [music playing]

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