Big band won’t let summer leave

  • The Tall Granite Big Band rehearses before its inaugural concert in 2014. Monitor file

  • Bassist Jock Irvine and trumpeters, Tim Wildman and Bob Maccini, jam during a rehearsal in 2014. —Monitor file

Monitor staff
Wednesday, September 06, 2017

The concert series in Eagle Square hosted by Concord Parks and Recreation may be over, but the Tall Granite Big Band isn’t ready to let summer go that easily.

On its own, the ensemble will be holding a concert tonight at 7 p.m. in the square, hoping for good weather.

The band is in just its third year, said band manager and trombonist David Dustin.

The group evolved out of the Tall Granite Jazz Band, with Bob Maccini, Tim Wildman and Dustin. When Dustin’s former Houston neighbor, the late Johnny Dyson was looking to pass on his collection of big band arrangements, the trio jumped on the opportunity to acquire it.

“Our objective is to keep this wonderful body of music alive,” Dustin said.

But with the big band music, they needed a larger ensemble than the seven or so that had been in the jazz group. So they started asking around.

“All of a sudden, we had all sorts of people,” he said.

Dustin said it has some four clergymen, including the Rev. Emilia Halstead, the band’s vocalist who was a trained jazz singer before going into the ministry. Tim Sink, president of the Greater Concord Chamber of Commerce, has played with the group. Then, there’s also business owners, high school band directors and others, Dustin said. In total, there are 17 musicians plus Halstead. 

It’s directed by Joey Placenti, one of the few professional musicians in the group. Most members perform as a hobby, Dustin said.

When asked about favorite arrangements, Dustin can’t decide.

“I’m not sure how to select that,” he said. “I’ve got a stack of music (from Dyson) six feet high.”

He added: “Johnny (Dyson) had great taste in music.”

People seem to really enjoy the big band music, Dustin said. They get people who return monthly to the swing dances at Pitman’s Freight Room in Laconia. 

“It just is wonderful stuff,” he said.

“This isn’t something you can just do with a few guitars,” Dustin said. “It’s a real art form.”

If you can’t catch the concert Thursday, Tall Granite Big Band will also perform Sept. 16 for its monthly dance night at Pitman’s. For its October performance at Pitman’s, on the 8th, the band will be joined by jazz trombonist and music producer, Delfeayo Marsalis of New Orleans. 

The group will celebrate its third birthday with a concert Nov. 17. Its first concert was held in November 2014 with donations benefiting the Concord emergency winter shelter. The group is proud to have raised $5,000, Dustin said.

For more information, you can find Tall Granite Big Band on Facebook.