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"Swing Makes You Happy!" - the new double CD album from one of NYC's top Swing Jazz Big Band - The George Gee Swing Orchestra!!

  The double album Swing Makes You Happy! brings you; Volume 1, The Swing Set, featuring the jazzy swing of signature versions of swingin’ Big Band standards with emphasis on the hot, lindy hop rhythms of Chick Webb and Count Basie; and Volume 2, The Jazz Set, spotlighting the swingin’ jazz arrangements and original compositions of David Gibson, Music director and Trombonist. The lush tones of singers Hilary Gardner and John Dokes are also featured.

“George Gee is no doubt the torchbearer of the Big Band tradition for future generations” – NEA Jazzmaster and Count Basie arranger Frank Foster.

“……...the swingin’est band in the LAND!” – original Savoy dancer and Lindy Hop Legend Frankie Manning.  

    Hi, I’m George Gee and I’m the bandleader of The George Gee Swing Orchestra (“GGSO”) here in New York City. My love and passion for the music was developed growing up here and I take it with me wherever the band travels, spreading the happy Gospel of Swing all over the globe.

    I started the band during college in Pittsburgh over three decades ago, where we were swingin’ before a unique mix of old timers, college students and punk rockers. Since that time we have grown into a signature NYC swing ambassador to listeners and dancers of all ages all around the world. We’ve come a long way baby and with your help we’re ready to make the leap into the future with our double album set (30 tunes) of swingin’ Big Band Jazz! 

These Brazilian music lovers look HAPPY at the I LOVE JAZZ Festival!
These Brazilian music lovers look HAPPY at the I LOVE JAZZ Festival!

    Our album is titled Swing Makes You Happy! simply because it’s true. Count Basie, a dear personal friend and mentor, taught me that it takes happy people to make happy music. That is the essence of the GGSO and our influence on our audiences. It is impossible to listen to these songs without a smile on your face, the snap of your fingers or the tap of your feet. For some, it’s imperative to get their whole bodies out on the dance floor and have a dance “conversation” with the music. Whether you’re a band member, a listener or a dancer, your troubles melt away when the band starts jumpin’. We hope you take a little piece of that joy away with you after every live show and each time you listen to our album. 

    The GGSO is a living, breathing entity that’s constantly evolving and growing. Our mission is to honor the swingin’ BIG BAND sound and its creators, as well as give voice to modern, yet eminently danceable compositions featuring the arrangements and original writing by the band’s highly-regarded Music Director and Trombonist David Gibson. You can hear us every week at our long-running residency at NYC’s SWING46 Jazz & Supper Club in Times Square. 

Swingin' weekly at NYC's SWING46!  Photo: Lynn Redmile
Swingin' weekly at NYC's SWING46! Photo: Lynn Redmile

WHY IS OUR KICKSTARTER CAMPAIGN SO IMPORTANT?

    The GGSO has evolved into an amazing group of virtuosic musicians who bring their individual joy and swing to contribute to the collective energy. Each of these musicians brings with them a rich collection of experiences that power the engine of the GGSO to make something truly unique. It is imperative to capture the exquisite musicianship and passion of each band member right now. As an ensemble, we create the happiest, most swingin’ vibe in the true spirit of the music, giving us a firm place in swing history.

(Find out about the family of musicians involved with the recording project!)

WHY DO WE NEED YOUR HELP?

    Producing a recording is a HUGE undertaking....especially when it's a BIG BAND as well as a double CD. There are LOTS of professionals who will be contributing their skills to the 3 phases of making an album.  

PHASE 1: Pre-Production (getting everything ready) – In addition to creating accurate transcriptions of jazz standards, our musical director has composed, and continues to compose, ORIGINAL arrangements and compositions specifically for this project. We have 13 musicians who will tirelessly rehearse every piece destined for the album (plus some alternates) to be at the top of their game during production.  

PHASE 2: Production (recording) – Those 13 musicians will spend an intense three full days and nights playing each track in whole and in part over and over again. We KNOW their talents deserve to be rewarded. In addition, those 3 days will include a recording engineer and an assistant engineer making sure all of the mics and computers are wired/working/placed properly so that all of our sounds will be perfectly recorded.

PHASE 3: Post-Production (mixing, mastering, CD creation, promotion) – We'll then have a mixing engineer who will spend hours with David Gibson making sure the recording sounds exactly like the band you expect to hear. Each song can require from 1-3 hours of individual time, so imagine the large investment of time 30 songs will require. Then, we'll have a mastering engineer spend even more hours making sure our recording will sound great on the radio, or a stereo, or a DJ system, or on a pair of earbuds! A graphic designer will then use their artistic vision to create the look of the finished album and a manufacturer will make the actual CDs. Finally, we'll have some additional professionals get the word out to the industry that SWING is ALIVE and the GGSO is representing this music at a very high level.

    As you can see, there will be a LOT of professionals contributing their expertise to ensure that we have a recording that is representative of the excellence we expect. That means many incredible people will spend many hours working for US. As mentioned, this is a HUGE undertaking and we could really use YOUR help.

Frankie Manning and Frank Foster
Frankie Manning and Frank Foster

THANK YOU FRANK AND FRANK

    Frankie Manning always loved dancing to Frank Foster's "Shiny Stockings" and we are humbled to have been on the receiving end of love from both Franks. We dedicate this recording to their quintessence and memory. Their strong spirits are with our every downbeat and they will be there with us in the recording studio. The connection is clear.

LAST BUT NOT LEAST!

    We must meet or exceed our goal of $45,000 by our deadline or we will not get any of the pledge money and you won’t receive any of the rewards. We need you to help make Swing Makes You Happy! a reality.

Thank You for helping us make the world a little bit happier. From me and all the cats, BE HAPPY and keep on swingin’!"

The album release will be amid the celebration of The Frankie Manning Centennial  (“FM100”) during Memorial Day Weekend 2014 in NYC. Pledge now and you may pick up your copy during our featured performance at FM100 on Saturday, May 24th.

HOW KICKSTARTER WORKS

There are two ways you can take this journey with me and the cats:

1. You can make a pledge. On the right of your screen, you’ll see various pledge levels named for selected song titles of Swing Makes You Happy!  Pledge rewards include:

• autographed, advance copies of Swing Makes You Happy!

• Hilary Gardner’s holiday album, delivered in plenty of time

• studio exclusives and VIP admissions 

• have Hilary or John croon a dedicated love song at SWING46 on Valentine’s Day

• hand-written thank you notes and phone calls

• fried chicken at Roscoe’s in Hollywood before the “Battle of the Big Bands”

• be Executive Producer or Benefactor of Swing Makes You Happy!

• photo with George Gee and the band at The Frankie Manning Centennial

• invitation-only CD Listening and Release Events

• 1-to-1 jazz summits with bandleader George Gee and music director David Gibson

• swing dance lessons with top lindy instructors Lainey Silver and Daniel Newsome

• tickets to a world renowned swing dance camp

• and many more

2. You can also spread the word. Tell your circle of family, friends, lindy hoppers, big band enthusiasts and music lovers about our project. Talk it up old school with face-to-face enthusiasm, but also use email, Twitter, Facebook, Reddit, Instagram, Google+, Pinterest, LinkedIn and all the other cool sites out there (even MySpace!). Help spread The Gospel of Swing that Swing Makes You Happy! will bring to the world and beyond…

What Your Pledges Will Go Towards:

• musician’s wages and catering, musical transcriptions and arrangements

• rehearsal space and 3 days of recording studio rental

• post-production (mixing/mastering)

• CD duplication (6 panel, 2 tray, digipak with 4 page booklet)

• print and radio promotions, mechanical song licensing

• videography, copy writing, graphic design and artwork

• shipping/handling and promotional printing

Packed house at Lincoln Center's Midsummer Night Swing - photo: Kevin Yatarola
Packed house at Lincoln Center's Midsummer Night Swing - photo: Kevin Yatarola

George Gee Album Samples 

Swingin’ Live – 1997

Buddha Boogie – 1998

Swingin’ Away – 1999 (Frankie Manning's 85th Birthday Party at Roseland Ballroom)

Swingin’ in Swing City Zurich – 2002

Settin’ the Pace – 2004 

If Dreams Come True – 2007

John Dokes Sing, George Gee Swings - 2010

Unreleased MP3 Tracks

Dawn Hampton’s “The Push”

“Shufflin’ n’ Rollin’”

“Hellzapoppin’”

“Cool Yule”

“Run Rudolph Run”

Acknowledgement And Appreciation To:

Joy Grad for her co-writing, editing and assistance in the management of this campaign

Jay “Jason” Lee for his videography talents

SWING46 Jazz & Supper Club

Dance Manhattan Studios

Lindy on the Rocks

Lainey Silver and Daniel Newsome

ZORT Music, Alan Sugarmn

Frankie Manning Centennial

Jazz Promo Services

Kate Smith Promotions

Lynn Redmile Photgraphy

Kevin Yatarola Photography

New Jersey Jazz Society

photo:  Lynn Redmile
photo: Lynn Redmile
 

Risks and challenges Learn about accountability on Kickstarter

If we're lucky enough to reach our goal, the next step is organizing our recording session. Here’s what happens:

1. We synchronize the schedules of 15 people and set dates for three days of recording.

2. Once the dates are set we go into the studio and lay down the 30 tracks live over the course of the 3 days.

3. If all goes well and the computers cooperate, we move on to mixing the recording. At this point, David Gibson and our mixing engineer go through all 30 tunes with a "fine-tooth comb" to make sure every note is audible and balanced to sound just as pure and exciting as one of our live performances.

4. Once the mixing is complete, we hand the audio portion of the project to a "mastering engineer". This person is a kind of sonic regulator who polishes the audio further to make sure that there is an evenness to the recording on any kind of audio playback, i.e. house/DJ system, car stereo, home stereo, headphones or earbuds.

5. While the mastering engineer is doing his work, we have a graphic designer create the cover art and liner notes.

6. Once all of this is complete, we send the project off to a manufacturer to make the CDs.

7. If computers and schedules cooperate, we'll be armed with a great recording to share with everyone! Now is when we spread the word that we’ve produced some exciting music. Marketing folks the message out to radio stations and magazines, send physical copies of the recording to hundreds of people and follow up with multiple email and telephone conversations to ensure that these folks take a LISTEN and experience the magic.

We have access to amazing musicians, engineers, designers and promoters and feel confident that we have plenty of time to meet our deadline. But, that will depend on the consistent cooperation of all the folks involved....and did we mention the COMPUTERS? In advance, we thank you for your support and patience!

FAQ

  • No, there aren't any delivery fees for the MP3s, as long as the computer is behaving! Postage is only requested for international orders and domestic is already calculated in your kind pledge! Thanks for asking :)

    Last updated:
  • The first volume - THE SWINGS SET - will feature transcriptions and arrangements of dance numbers that would've fit right in at The Savoy Ballroom;

    1) Midnight at the Madhouse (Chick Webb)
    2) Blue Minor (Webb)
    3) Lindy Hopper's Delight (Webb)
    4) Swingtime in the Rockies (proposed new transcription
    5) Blue Lou (webb)
    6) Red Bank Boogie (Count Basie)
    7) Clap Hands Here Comes Charlie (Webb)
    8) Baby Won't You Please Come Home (vocals John Dokes)
    9) Thanks for the Boogie Ride (Vocals Hilary Gardner)
    10) Candy (trumpet feature)
    11) No Moon at all (Gardner)
    12) Shadow of Your Smile (baritone sax feature)
    13) It Was A Very Good Year (tenor sax feature)
    14) When I Grow Too Old To Dream (alto sax feature)
    15) If I Were a Bell (Dokes/Gardner duet)
    16) Baby Its Cold Outside (Dokes/Gardner)

    The second volume is THE JAZZ SET, which still contains swingin, danceable music but perhaps with more of a modernistic edge and also a series of original tunes by David Gibson.

    1) Road to Roscoe's (original)
    2) Hash Mash (original)
    3) I Knows (original)
    4) Wabash
    5) It's No Joke (Gardner)
    6) I'll Wait and Pray (ballad)
    7) I'd rather Drink Muddy Waters (Dokes)
    8) Evenin' (Dokes)
    9) Sweet pumpkin (Gardner)
    10) You Say You Care (Gardner)
    11) Without a Song (alto sax feature)
    12) Tribute to Someone (trumpet feature)
    13) Nature Boy (Dokes)
    14) Bedrock (original)
    15) Kinda Gravish (original)
    16) Can't Buy Me Love (proposed new vocal duet)

    All arrangements by David Gibson except for Blue Lou and Clap Hands Here Come Charlie, which were transcribed by Tatum Greenblatt. Hmmm, maybe there will be 32 tunes instead of the originally planned 30!

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  • Pledge $5 or more
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    CANDY - your name listed on our Kickstarter, Blog, Facebook & Twitter, our gratitude, and good feelings from helping to make this project a reality. How sweet it is!

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    18 backers

    I’D RATHER DRINK MUDDY WATER – than NOT give you a choice of one of five fabulous GGSO MP3 albums (all except for "Swingin' Away and "Swing City Zurich") and an unreleased single. Plus a little CANDY to sweeten the taste. *See the album and unreleased singles section on the left to help you choose.

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    BABY ITS COLD OUTSIDE – singer Hilary Gardner’s CD, “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas,” autographed with personal seasonal greetings and our unreleased MP3s “Cool Yule” and “Run Rudolph Run!” Plus CANDY. Happy Holidays!

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    SWING MAKES YOU HAPPY – your choice of MP3 or CD of "Swing Makes You Happy!" in advance of the CD Release Party. Plus CANDY. Also available for pickup on May 24th at Frankie100 NYC.

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    45 backers

    SWING MAKES YOU HAPPY(ER) – and so will the AUTOGRAPHED CD, signed by both George Gee and David Gibson. Plus all unreleased MP3s. Plus CANDY. Also available for pickup on May 24th at Frankie100.

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    CLAP HANDS HERE COMES CHARLIE – join George Gee and the band in a toast at our invitation-only, VIP Pre-CD Release Party Listening Event at NYC’s SWING46 on Tuesday, May 20th, 2014. All the cats will be happy to personalize your included "Swing Makes You Happy!" CD, a perfect memento of the evening. Stay to celebrate at the CD Release Party. Plus all unreleased MP3s. Plus CANDY.

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    21 backers

    HASH MASH –MP3s of all of the selected 7 GGSO albums. Plus of SWING MAKES YOU HAPPY(ER).

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    3 backers Limited (1 left of 4)

    YOU SAY YOU CARE – a surprise, love song to your special someone by Hilary Gardner or John Dokes at NYC’s SWING46 on Valentine’s Day, Friday, February 14th, 2014 and some chocolates. Plus SWING MAKES YOU HAPPY(ER).

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    1 backer All gone!

    BEDROCK – private swing dance lesson for two (at NYC's Dance Manhattan Studios) with Lainey Silver and Daniel Newsome. Right after the lesson, swing at the monthly Big Band First Fridays dance event (at same location) with live music by the GGSO (redeemable in the first half of 2014). Plus all unreleased singles. Plus SWING MAKES YOU HAPPY(ER).

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    THAT'S NO JOKE - Broadway ticket vouchers and MP3s with value exceeding your pledge! $50 off a $500 order from Ticket-Broadway.com (with special code); plus $25 off $250. Ticket-Broadway.com specializes in both tickets for sold out performances and premium seating as well as special deals with some tickets under $50. On top of the $75 value in ticket savings, also get HASH MASH. For the most fun, catch George Gee at SWING46 after the show.

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    TRIBUTE TO SOMEONE – celebrate Frank Foster and Frankie Manning with two CDs; "Settin’ the Pace," recorded under the direction of Frank Foster; and the Collector’s Edition of "Swingin’ Away," a live recording at Roseland Ballroom from Frankie Manning’s 85th Birthday Celebration. Plus SWING MAKES YOU HAPPY(ER).

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    THE SHADOW OF YOUR SMILE - Frankie Manning's autobiography "Ambassador of Lindy Hop" Plus TRIBUTE TO SOMEONE.

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    LINDYHOPPER”S DELIGHT - for paid NYC FM100 attendees only - Take part in a group photo on stage with the GGSO on May 24th at FM100 (and receive the jpeg). Plus our unreleased, exclusive “Hellzapoppin’” MP3 track from FM95 and MP3 version of TRIBUTE TO SOMEONE. Plus SWING MAKES YOU HAPPY(ER).

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    SWINGTIME IN THE ROCKIES – immerse yourself in Lindy Hop with a weekend pass to either “Lindy on the Rocks,” "Rocky Mountain Balboa Blowout" or "Lindy Diversion" in Denver, CO in 2014 (dates TBA). Plus SWING MAKES YOU HAPPY(ER).

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    3 backers Limited (7 left of 10)

    THANKS FOR THE BOOGIE RIDE – George Gee (the Swing DJ) will spin up to 3 hours at your special event (attn: swing dance promoters!) You will provide accommodations and travel arrangements (if outside of NYC), and provide a sound system for his iPad! Plus 5 copies of “Swing Makes You Happy!” to do as you please. (NOTE: all details must be pre-arranged and pre-approved by George Gee)

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    EVENIN’ – an evening of jazz for two with David Gibson and George Gee in an informal “Jazz Theory” discussion over dinner (included) at The Garage in, NYC and front row seats for The David Gibson Jazz Quartet at SMALLS jazz club. Plus an autographed “A Little Something” CD with the Gibson group plus SWING MAKES YOU HAPPY(ER). (Note: Date in first quarter of 2014 TBD.)

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    ON THE ROAD TO ROSCOE’s - on July 5th, 2014 – Two will share yummy, greasy eats (provided) with George Gee, David Gibson, John Dokes and surprise guests at Roscoe’s Chicken and Waffles in Hollywood. Then attend the Battle of the Big Bands (GGSO vs Bill Elliot) at the Veteran’s Auditorium in Los Angeles, CA, where you will get to introduce the band onstage. Plus HASH MASH and SWING MAKES YOU HAPPY(ER).

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    IT WAS A VERY GOOD YEAR – ring in the 2014 New Year on December 31, 2013 at SWING46, in Times Square, NYC. VIP admission for two includes open toasting and dancing. Plus HASH MASH and SWING MAKES YOU HAPPY(ER).

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    CAN’T BUY ME LOVE – be credited as a Benefactor in the album liner notes, a Thank You phone call from George Gee, a hand-written, thank you note, a dedicated autographed copy of “Swing Makes You Happy!" Plus HASH MASH and CLAP HANDS HERE COMES CHARLIE. Plus 5 SWING MAKES YOU HAPPYs for your friends!

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    WHEN I GROW TOO OLD TO DREAM – be credited as Executive Producer (a BIG step up from Benefactor) in the album liner notes plus CAN’T BUY ME LOVE. You’ve always wanted to be in the music business, right?

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    MIDNIGHT AT THE MADHOUSE – be a special VIP guest at our recording sessions for "Swing Makes You Happy!" Three straight days of recording into the wee hours. Feel the magic happen! Dates scheduled for weekdays in January 2014 in Brooklyn, NY. Plus WHEN I GROW TOO OLD TO DREAM.

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