Friday & Saturday Main Dance
Michael Gamble and the Vanguard Serenaders
ft. Laura Windley
Michael Gamble and the Vanguard Serenaders are a hard swinging and stylistically faithful ensemble created in the mold of the late 1930’s, early 1940’s dance band.
Their sound is characterized by an aggressive four-on-the-floor time-feel, thick & riffy horn arrangements, and an eclectic songbook that touches on the sweet and sentimental as well as the hot and bothered. The band plays in various configurations, and each version of the group explores different avenues of the classic repertoire.
The Octet - featured both nights! - performs arrangements that were popularized not by the large orchestras or small combos, but the many medium-sized outfits that worked during the time such as those led by Fletcher Henderson, the Coleman Hawkins All Stars, various Duke Ellington and Lionel Hampton side groups, the Dickie Wells, Teddy Wilson, and Willie Bryant orchestras, and more.
They dig up material that will be instantly familiar to vintage music aficionados and swing dancers even if it never made it to the Greatest Hits compilations of the day.
Bandleader Michael Gamble’s 15+ years of work in every aspect of the global swing dance community informs the band’s repertoire and taste. The music will carry a dance floor all night long, but is just as comfortable in listening rooms, or even setting a classy tone for a private event. Michael Gamble and his Rhythm Serenaders pursue one mission in any setting: to share the joy and infectious energy of mid-20th century American Jazz!
In addition to the Vanguard Serenaders, RIOB is excited to welcome back Laura Windley, who will be joining the Vanguard Serenaders both Friday and Saturday as their featured vocalist.
Laura came to jazz music from the dance floor, picking up swing dancing in 1998. A few years later she became a DJ for those same dances, broadening her knowledge and love of jazz and swing with non-stop listening and music collecting. From there it was only natural that she try singing the songs that she had grown to love and, because a swing singer needs a swinging band, Laura went on to co-found the Mint Julep Jazz Band with her husband, trombone player Lucian Cobb, in 2012. Laura has become a staple of swing dance events throughout the U.S., performing with her own band as well as bands led by Jonathan Stout, Michael Gamble, Paul Cosentino, Craig Gildner, and Jonathan Doyle, as well as performing at Lincoln Center’s Midsummer Night Swing with her own band and with Michael Gamble and the Rhythm Serenaders.
Singing in a sweet style with a serious rhythmic underpinning and drawing comparisons to a young Ella Fitzgerald, Ivie Anderson, and Helen Forrest, Laura is known for her authenticity of sound – as you enter the dance hall, you may think you are hearing a vintage recording. She can’t help but swing, no matter what the tempo, and she has a splendid conversational approach to the lyrics. Michael Steinman has called her “the Joan Blondell of swing singing: sweet, tender, and lemony all at once. And once you’ve heard her, you won’t mistake her for anyone else.”
Friday Late Night / Saturday Main / Rhythm Business Comp
Hailing from Richmond, Virginia, Qui Nguyen has always been in search of good music. From digging through dusty record store crates, to deep dives down the YouTube/Wikipedia rabbit hole, her motto has always been "if it moves you, it's good music". You can always catch her listening to and dancing close by the bandstand at any number of swing, balboa or blues events. You might even have danced to her DJ sets at various events such as Swing into Spring, GVLX, Jammin' on the James, KLX, I *Heart* Bal, or even Dirt Cheap Blues. Not a stranger to the organizing side of swing events, Qui is also one of the master minds behind Richmond Lindy Exchange, and is super excited to be returning to the DJ booth at Rhythm Is Our Business!