Outdoor Gigs for Big Bands

One of my bands, the Microsoft Jumpin’ Jive Orchestra, had two outdoor gigs this August. Outdoor gigs are not my favorites, but playing at the Ballard Locks has always been a favorite activity for me.

Here is some of the reasons why Ballard Locks is a good venue.

  1. The venue is shaded by trees so we aren’t sitting in the sun.
  2. The locks are a nice place to visit.
  3. There is a dedicated place for band members to park.
  4. The drummer and sound guy can get their vehicles within 20 yards of the band stand.
  5. The place is well attended with very polite and appreciative audiences.
  6. We don’t get interrupted by an obnoxious announcer hawking shirts or doing public announcements between each song.
  7. The venue provides chairs, water, and a sound system. (Less stuff to schlep.
  8. We own how we use the two hours. We break and end when we want to.

The band has come a long way in it’s eight years of existence. Once called the Microsoft Jazz Band, this year we became the Microsoft Jumpin’ Jive Orchestra.

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As you can see, the fronts that Suzy helped me design and build are still holding up. We went with matching Microsoft shirts for the first time ever. Robin Hilt provided the vocals for this song.

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Wild Bill Coady on sticks, Ray Guyll directing, Sam Grone on solo tenor and Molly on alto sax round out some of the new people in the band. Mike Pautz is our sound man for this gig.

And, this is the best sax section I have ever had the privilege of sitting in with.


This weekend we’ll be at a new venue at the Coupeville Town Park.


Microsoft Jumpin’ Jive Orchestra specializes in the “as recorded” arrangements of the big band era. Most of these arrangements have been made available only to the MJJO.

Many of the arrangements came directly from the libraries of Glenn Miller, Benny Goodman, Arty Shaw, Harry James, The Dorsey Brothers, etc. As such, we are able to include and feature the song styling’s that were unique to Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Bobby Darren, Louie Prima, Ella Fitzgerald, Dinah Washington, Billie Holiday, Anita O’ Day, etc.

One of the best descriptions of the band was provided by one of our audience members “Electric and exciting!!”

At major Microsoft functions the MJJO is the band of choice!

About Gandalfe

Just an itinerant saxophonist trying to find life between the changes. I have retired from the Corps of Engineers and Microsoft. I am an admin on the Woodwind Forum, run the Seattle Solid GOLD Big Band (formerly the Microsoft Jumpin' Jive Orchestra) a GOLD sax quartet, and enjoy time with family and friends.
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