Columbia State Welcomes the Merchants of Cool

Picture of a Band

Photo Caption: The Merchants of Cool 

(COLUMBIA, Tenn. – Feb. 17, 2016) - - - Columbia State Community College is proud to present the area big band swing unit, The Merchants of Cool in a concert of music new and old Saturday, Feb. 20 at 7 p.m. in the Ledbetter Auditorium.

“Columbia residents have an opportunity to hear them play first at this special concert this weekend, before they play Nashville’s Centennial Park Jazz night this summer,” said Dr. Stuart Lenig, professor of communications and drama. “While people might think of swing and big band music as a nostalgia style, the format has revived and grown in recent years.”

The Merchants of Cool was formed in 2006 and revives the mid-century music of America’s swing golden age. Most of their performance includes big swing era music of the thirties and forties and includes tunes from the rock period of more recent songs and artists.

Some major artists that emerged from the swing era include Louis Armstrong, Benny Goodman, Duke Ellington, Count Basie and Glenn Miller. Jazz combos of the fifties and sixties, such as The Miles Davis, Thelonious Monk and Dave Brubeck ensembles derived from this fast-paced music. 

Lenig said a lot of alternative acts have adopted the large arrangements, the complex instrumentation, and complex tonalities of big band swing.

“We hear it when Michael Bublé sings ballads, Lady Gaga belts with Tony Bennett, Woody Allen includes it in the soundtrack to his films, and David Bowie courted jazz textures on his last album, Blackstar,” Lenig explained.

The Merchants of Cool band members are members of the nationwide American Big Band Preservation Society, a group that promotes the sound of mid-century music. The band knows over 250 tunes, and plays hits, classics, little known tunes and original arrangements.  

The Ledbetter Auditorium is in the Frank G. Clement Building on the Columbia Campus, located at 1665 Hampshire Pike. For more information, contact Lenig at 931-540-2877. The event is free and open to the public. Come early for a good seat.

Columbia State is a two-year college, serving a nine-county area in southern Middle Tennessee with locations in Columbia, Franklin, Lawrenceburg, Lewisburg and Clifton. As Tennessee’s first community college, Columbia State is committed to increasing access and enhancing diversity at all five campuses. Columbia State is a member of the Tennessee Board of Regents, one of the largest higher education systems in the nation. For more information, please visit www.columbiastate.edu

Tennessee’s Community Colleges is a system of 13 colleges offering a high-quality, affordable, convenient and personal education to prepare students to achieve their educational and career goals in two years or less. We offer associate degree and certificate programs, workforce development programs and transfer pathways to four-year degrees. For more information, please visit us online at tncommunitycolleges.org.

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