by RACHEL SIEMENS & r & & r & & lt;span class= & quot;dropcap & quot; & S & lt;/span & moky back rooms, jangly piano and finger curls... a little moonshine and a few rounds on the dance floor to ease your working blues... speakeasies, gangsters, and zoot suits -- the 1930s was a time of intense glamour, intrigue and romance. If only there was some way people nowadays could experience that same blend of decadence and despair...
Well, there is. Right in our own backyard, a storm has been a-brewin' in the form of a burgeoning swing-jazz scene. Spokane natives 6' Swing bridge the gap between 1930 and 2007 with surprisingly contemporary, vintage swing jazz. It's a seeming oxymoron the band pulls off and pulls off well. With the horn section blaring and the piano skipping and jumping over singer Heather O'Brien's smoky voice, the melodic hum of the upright bass and the metallic buzz of the washboard, 6' Swing's music is an intoxicating, driving assemblage.
They've been together only about four months, but the group's polish lends a flavor of nostalgia while adding an up-to-date flair. "We have a lot of people to pull influences from," says O'Brien (who also works for The Inlander). And pull they do, while still maintaining the jazz spirit of improvisation. 6' Swing's Garrin Hertel is cited as being the band's arranger revitalizing time-worn standards He "keeps the spirit of the melody" and lets the rest of the group pack on the meat, he says, letting their own individual styles and influences seep to the surface.
"Swing is an attitude within jazz," Hertel says, "and if it doesn't swing, it isn't jazz."
Simply put, this group really swings.
6' Swing with The Stolen Sweets at Centerstage on Thursday, May 24th at 7 pm. $5. Call 747-8243.