Swing is king again

Jazz band salutes Benny Goodman at Sumter Opera House


"It don't mean a thing if it ain't got that swing ..." Duke Ellington asserted in 1932, but it was clarinetist-band leader Benny Goodman who was undeniably the King of Swing. He maintained his royalty for more than six decades with such hits as "Sing, Sing, Sing," "Memories of You," "One O'Clock Jump" and "Goody, Goody," among many.

Goodman's music continues to be popular, as does the swing dance associated with it, and Friday night at the Sumter Opera House, Paul Cosentino and the Boilermaker Jazz Band will bring When Swing Was King, a Tribute to Benny Goodman, to a Sumter audience.

The 7:30 p.m. concert will also feature jazz and big band music from the six-piece band that includes vocalist Jennifer McNulty, in the tradition of Goodman's legendary female vocalists Peggy Lee, Billie Holiday, Mildred Bailey, Helen Forrest and others.

Music for When Swing was King was selected from Goodman's radio broadcasts of 1936 through 1939, when his band was at the height of its popularity. During these broadcasts, he was often introduced as the "Rajah of Rhythm."

In January 1938, Goodman played Carnegie Hall in a concert touted by critic Bruce Elder and many others as "the single most important jazz or popular music concert in history ... ." Clarinetist Cosentino will play the Goodman parts on the late band leader's hits, and will lead the Boilermakers in playing the jazz and big band music from other groups of the Great American Songbook era, that period of the early to middle 20th century that produced so many of our eternally popular and influential standards. These are the songs rock stars embrace when their musical tastes mature; e.g., Rod Stewart, Cyndi Lauper, Brian Wilson, Natalie Cole, Jeff Lynne and Lady Gaga with Tony Bennett. Cosentino formed the Boilermakers in 1988, and over the past three decades, the band has performed around the world in ballrooms and prestigious music halls that include Lincoln Center and the Waldorf Astoria Hotel in New York City, The New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival and the Smithsonian Institute in Washington, D.C. Cosentino and the band have recorded eight critically acclaimed CDs and have received rave reviews for their excellent live performances. Their music was recently featured on the hit Fox TV show "So You Think You Can Dance" for a Lindy Hop routine.

Paul Cosentino and the Boilermaker Jazz Band will play one performance only in Sumter, so early ticket purchases are recommended in order to reserve seats. Tickets may be available at the door, should any remain at 7 p.m. Friday. Sumter Opera House, 21 N. Main St., presents Paul Cosentino and the Boilermaker Jazz Band performing their concert, When Swing was King, a Tribute to Benny Goodman, at 7:30 p.m. Friday. Tickets are $25, $22 and $18. For information or tickets, contact the box office at the Opera House, (803) 436-2616 or www.SumterOperaHouse.com.