Michael Gamble and the Rhythm Serenaders are a hard swinging and stylistically faithful ensemble created in the mold of the late 1930’s, early 1940’s dance band. Their sound is characterized by an aggressive four-on-the-floor time-feel, thick & riffy horn arrangements, and an eclectic songbook that touches on the sweet and sentimental as well as the hot and bothered. Typically the band plays either as a Sextet or Octet, and each version of the group explores different avenues of the classic repertoire.
The Sextet specializes in careful transcriptions and subtle adaptations of The Benny Goodman Sextet, with thoughtful forays into the small combos Duke Ellington, Count Basie, and Artie Shaw. The many famous sidemen and alumni of those various bands are given plenty of love as well. With Laura Windley featured on vocals, the band also explores the wonderful songbook left behind by Billie Holiday during her years with Brunswick, where she and Teddy Wilson pulled together some of the hardest swinging players to bring to life some of the greatest pop tunes ever written.
The Octet performs arrangements that were popularized not by the large orchestras or small combos, but the many medium-sized outfits that worked during the time such as those led by Fletcher Henderson, the Coleman Hawkins All Stars, various Duke Ellington and Lionel Hampton side groups, the Dickie Wells and Willie Bryant orchestras, and more. They dig up material that will be instantly familiar to vintage music aficionados and swing dancers even if it never made it to the Greatest Hits compilations of the day.
Bandleader Michael Gamble’s 15+ years in the international swing scene inform every aspect of the band’s repertoire and taste.
bottom center photo by Jeremy Brantley