It is like a time machine taking you back to the 1940s – and 30s – and 20s.
Listening to the music, you don't hear much anymore from the Mobile Big Band.
And watching Alabama folks, some seniors, dancing to the Jitterbug, the Swing and the Cha Cha. And maybe dancing yourself to the oldie goldies.
The Mobile Big Band is Alabama's version of New Orleans' Preservation Hall Band — only the music genres are different. In New Orleans, you hear Bourbon Street's Dixieland jazz. In Mobile, you hear swing, big bands, Benny Goodman and Glenn Miller.
The Mobile Big Band performs its final monthly show of 2023 on Tuesday night (October 17) at the famous Bluegill Restaurant on the Mobile Bay Causeway. 6:30 p.m. — always an early start so we seniors can make it home before bedtime.
Better get there early to get a seat. The show often fills up and overflows. The Bluegill does not take reservations for the Mobile Big Band shows. First come, first seated. 3775 Battleship Parkway, Spanish Fort, Alabama.
While waiting on the show to start, you can enjoy the Bluegill's local Alabama seafood. Oysters from Bon Secour. Shrimp from Bayou Le Batre. Red snapper from the Gulf of Mexico. Crab from Mobile Bay. A good way to pass the time waiting for the big band.
The musicians in the big band are all local and regional volunteers. They mostly have day jobs. Conductor and trumpeter is Mobile attorney Chip Herrington. Saxophone player is U.S. District Judge William Steele.
One of the purposes of the Mobile Big Band is to share the jazz of the past with new generations – Alabama's "yutes" hearing a sound and beat that they don't hear on the radio. The preservation of the 20th century's jazz is an ongoing mission.
A crowd favorite is "In the Mood," by the Glenn Miller Band. Swing dancers swarm the Bluegill's dance floor for this up-tempo classic.
Slow dancers take the floor for a classic covered by several star entertainers, including Mobile's Jimmy Buffett – "Stars Fell on Alabama."
The Big Band is often featured at events in Baldwin and Mobile Counties. For details, including an events calendar of Mobile Big Band appearances, go online to Gulf Coast's Most Loved Big Band.
The author, Jim Zeigler, is a former Alabama Public Service Commissioner and State Auditor. You can reach him for comments at [email protected].
Don't miss out! Subscribe to our newsletter and get our top stories every weekday morning.