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Since 1991, Beasley's Big Band has been playing big band jazz with power and drive.

For more than 20 years, we've been playing at the Wabasha Street Caves and O'Gara's Bar & Grill. At the historic Wabasha Street Caves, you can swing dance to Beasley's Big Band on the third Thursday of just about every month. If you'd like to listen to Beasley's Big Band in an intimate club setting, stop by O'Gara's. We also play for corporate parties, swing dances, charity balls, wedding dances, and summer concerts in city parks. Think about hiring the band for your next event!

BBB Phraseology 

All bands share typical lingo like "gig," "book," and "set list."  But BBB has a few phrases and traditions of our own.

“Traveling” 
Chuck Beasley would always shout out “Traveling!” before he counted off a chart, giving the band a heads-up that we were about to start.  “Traveling!  One, two…”  This tradition continues at the start of every song today.

One Dollar 
If a band member blows a particularly impressive solo that totally impresses you, we tip them $1.  A truly fantastic job could net the soloist upwards of 3 or 4 dollars! 

“White Whale” 
Not so much a long tradition as one I’m trying to get started.  Our band’s gear is hauled in a giant, white Chevy Suburban.  Not only does the Moby Dick allusion fit, the great American novel offers a multitude of metaphors and similitudes that I can use.

Life of a Band: Who does What 

There's a lot to do with a band of this size.  There's a lot of equipment, a lot of music, gigs to book, rehearsals to run, subs, and - hopefully - a few bucks to share.  BBB shares these responsibilities across several band members so no one person has to do it all.  All of us are playing members of the band.
  • Musical Director - Find charts, run rehearsals, create set lists, and count off the band.
  • Business Manager - Coordinate and secure the gigs, work out the details, and produce the calendar.
  • The Money Man - Get the $'s, pay the $'s, and track the $'s.
  • Equipment Wrangler - The really handy guy with the big Suburban that can haul everything.  (Also coordinates our rehearsal space.)
  • 4 x Section Leads - Get subs as needed.  Rhythm, sax, trombone, and trumpet.
  • Social Media Guy - Manage the web site, Twitter, Twitter, and emails; recruit each gig's load-in crew.
  • 4 x Load-In Crew - Volunteers willing to come out early and setup. Bonus: you don't have to tear down.
  • 15 x Load-Out Crew - Everyone who didn't setup!

Life of a Band: Why Rehearse? 

If getting 2 people to coordinate is hard -- try 19.  Nineteen people who have different ideas of how it should sound (maybe a few without any ideas).  While the music lays out exactly what we're each supposed to play, it's not quite enough.  Each member must not only have the technical skills to read and play the notes, we all must "hear" it together.
Each horn section has a lead player, and each member of that section must listen and replicate the tone, style, starts, and stops of that lead player.  Then each of the lead players must hear each other.  The rhythm section provides not only the beat, but hits and kicks and fills to glue us all together.
At rehearsals, we pull out old charts to tighten them up and refine our group skills, then we pull out some new charts to remind ourselves of how far we have to go.  Sometimes these new charts are pulled out during a gig to provide the band with a little heart stimulation ("Well, at least we ended together!").
And that's why we rehearse.  That, and so our dancers don't sprain an ankle.

Twin Cities Jazz Festival 

A huge thank you to the crowd at Rice Park!  The rain washed away the humidity and the skies turned blue just in time for our set.  Playing outdoors and without a band shell can be an adventure -- the sound from your horn seems to just disappear into the ether -- but we settled in after a tune or two and had a great time.  We even caught some press!  http://mspmag.com/Blogs/The-Morning-After/June-2015/St-Paul-Twin-Cities-Jazz-Fest-and-More/

(Sorry about your face, Bruce.  You need to stop moving around when I'm taking a panoramic shot!)

The recording process will take even longer... 

Alas, summer in MN is too short for BBB to squeeze in a recording session.  So we've rescheduled for 3 consecutive nights in early February.  A lot fewer people are up at the cabin in February.  But the sectionals and rehearsals are kicking up nevertheless.  It takes a long time to get 19 people to agree on a single piece of music, never mind 30.  We'll cull that list down, but that's for our crack project managers to take care of.

The recording process is a long, long, long process... 

All this year we've been saving our pennies so we can record a new batch of music.  It's looking like we'll be having extra rehearsals this summer and spending a few nights in August recording.  We're working on the logistics and the music right now.  Once the recording is done, it can take months and months longer to put the tracks together... never mind packaging them up for sharing.  No ETA yet, keep watching here for occasional updates.

BBB Featured on Jazz 88's Big Band Scene 

Thanks to our good friends at Jazz 88 (KBEM FM 88.5), Beasley's Big Band is being featured on three upcoming BIG BAND SCENE radio shows airing on Mondays at 7 PM & Sundays at 10 PM (& On Demand at jazz88fm.com). 
   - 3/30 & 4/05 - Big Band Tuesday at Jazz Central, MN Music Café, Crooners Lounge, & O’Gara’s
   - 4/27 & 5/03 - Big Band Dances at Wabasha Street Caves, KC Hall, Eagles Club, Cinema Ballroom, Crooners & others
   - 5/11 & 5/17 – Preview of Big Bands at Jazz on the Prairie & the Twin Cities Jazz Festival

Just Booked: An O'Gara's Dance! 

We'll be blowing a dance in the O'Gara's Shanty on Tuesday night, May 5th - right behind the main bar and restaurant.  This is exciting for us and we're going to show O'Gara's that BBB has the greatest dancers in town!  Book the night!  Tell your date!  Tell your friends!  Tell your friends' dates!