Parkland Press

Sunday, March 29, 2020

Sit in with Chaise Lounge for MSH ‘Jazz Upstairs’

Friday, August 16, 2019 by GEORGE VANDOREN Special to The Press in Focus

Chaise Lounge returns for the “Jazz Upstairs” series, 7:30 p.m. Aug. 16, Rodale Community Room, Miller Symphony Hall.

Doors open at 7 p.m. for a free buffet, included with the ticket price admission. A cash bar is available.

The Washington, D.C.-based group presents an upbeat blend of standards and originals with an early 1960s’ jazz vibe.

Charlie Barnett, piano, accordion and guitar, also writes and-or arranges most of the group’s tunes.

The group features Marilyn Older, vocals; Gary Gregg, reed instruments; Joe Jackson, trombone; Pete Ostle, bass, and Tommy Barrick, drums.

The ensemble has been together for 20 years. Says Barnett, “The only change is that about halfway through, we changed trombone players.”

The group is a blend of seriously talented musicians. In addition to his playing, Barnett is an award-winning composer and arranger. He composed more than 400 film and television scores. He’s received awards and Emmy nominations. His orchestral and chamber works have been performed around the globe. And he’s arranged and produced pop and jazz records for numerous artists.

One of his latest efforts is “19: The Musical,” a musical about the women who strove to make the 19th Amendment and women’s suffrage possible. He’s co-producing a Veterans’ Day show at the National Cathedral, featuring the United States Marine Orchestra and the National Cathedral Choir. And he’s scoring a PBS film.

Older has been singing professionally since receiving a music technology degree from American University. She has written songs and performed with a variety of bands. She’s toured as a pianist with Doc Scantlin’s Royal Palms Orchestra.

She has contributed as a lyricist to Chaise Lounge’s material and has written songs for independent films. Says Barnett, “Lyrically, I think Marilyn is some sort of genius in delivering a cool, heart-felt story.”

Gregg, a Las Vegas native, performs with D.C. ensembles and has his own sextet. He’s in demand for his work on clarinet, tenor and flute.

Jackson attended the University of North Texas where he played in the famous One O’Clock Lab Band. He performed with the Maynard Ferguson Band throughout the U.S. and Europe and joined the U.S. Air Force Airmen of Note where he served as leader. While there, he created the “Jazz Heritage Broadcast Series.” He has played with the Woody Herman Orchestra and David Liebman Big Band and has done numerous arrangements.

Ostle served in “Pershing’s Own,” playing with the U.S. Army Concert Band, Army Blues, Army Chorus, Army Orchestra and Army Chorale during his 20-year tenure. He formed A La Carte Brass & Percussion and leads the Tuxedo Park Orchestra. Ostle received a degree in arranging and composition from Berklee College of Music.

Barrick has performed throughout the U.S. and Europe. He plays in groups in the D.C. area, from swing and jazz to Latin, funk and punk. His playing can be heard on many television and film scores.

Of recent Chaise Lounge activities, Barnett says, “Our newest CD is an orchestral one recorded at Kennedy Center live with the Panamanian Symphony Orchestra. I did all the arranging. Since it was live, I was shocked at how great it came out.

“We’re getting ready to start a new one [CD] this fall. It will be an odd mix. There’s this Italian tune from 1952, ‘Un Bacio a Mezzanotte.’ Another is a Staples Family tune. On some of these, the band does background vocals. It adds a nice flavor to a couple of the songs.”

Of Chaise Lounge’s sound, Barnett says it’s “my nutty vision of what music sounded like from Capitol recordings in 1962. It’s a strange mix of very vintage sound with some very modern settings. I don’t hear anything else that sounds like this.”

Tickets: Miller Symphony Hall box office, 23 N. Sixth St., Allentown;; 610-432-6715