Image courtesy WCVE
To celebrate the 100th anniversary of the first jazz recording in style, the Community Idea Stations will host the Sound of Swing Dance Party at 7 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 25.
The party, which is Mardi Gras-themed, will offer hors d'oeuvres and dance lessons from Simply Ballroom. Every hour a new step will be taught, including the Charleston, Swing and Lindy Hop. In order to emulate the era, vintage and cocktail attire are encouraged, but not required.
Public radio station 88.9 WCVE has a longstanding relationship with jazz music. It began with regular jazz shows a year after the station’s inception in 1988. They currently have programs six days a week: “Jazz with Peter Solomon” is on weeknights at 7 p.m., and “The Sound of Swing” is every Saturday at noon. "Sound of Swing" presenter Steve Clark will host the dance party.
Gabrielle Jones, development and marketing associate at the Community Idea Stations, says that Richmond has what she would call an “underground jazz scene.”
“Our jazz shows have a strong, loyal following,” Jones says. “What Richmond is really missing is a jazz club where people can enjoy live music regularly.”
The first jazz single ever, called “Livery Stable Blues,” was released in 1917 by The Original Dixieland Jazz Band, and jazz music's roots emanate from late-19th century New Orleans and the musical mixtures of African-American and Creole communities there. The music at Saturday's party will be performed by the local band Doctors of Jazz.
The musicians are a mixture of active and emeritus professors, mostly from the University of Richmond, who have been playing traditional jazz for the last 30 years. They specialize in recreating the work of King Oliver, Jelly Roll Morton and other jazz pioneers.
Katherine Mitchell, director of community engagement at the Community Idea Stations, says the event's purpose is to connect the audience beyond the broadcast.
“We are really excited about it, especially since we are one of the biggest purveyors of jazz music in the area,” she says. “It is going to be a really fun, New Orleans-themed celebration.”
Tickets for the party are $20 and include dance lessons. They can be purchased online or at the door. The event begins at 7 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 25, at the Sesame Street Studios, 23 Sesame St., Richmond.