The Midnight Serenaders perform an infectious blend of old-time jazz and early swing, offering up a sweet collection of songs and tunes from the early 20th century. Fronted by guitar slinger/crooner Doug Sammons and ukulele-plinking chanteuse Dee Settlemier, this Portland, Oregon-based sextet energizes audiences, and transports them on a melodic, swing-crazy journey to the dance-happy era known as “the Jazz Age,” where a catchy melody was queen and rhythm ruled the land.
The Midnight Serenaders draw their repertoire from the rich heritage of early Americana: from out of the Harlem Renaissance they bring “A Porter’s Love Song To A Chambermaid,” written by James P. Johnson and Andy Razaf, and Clarence Williams’ very saucy “You Got To Give Me Some.” In addition they do passionate renditions of Bessie Smith’s “Squeeze Me” and Ethel Waters’ “My Handyman.” The Serenaders unearth and reinterpret many long forgotten songs from the 1920s and ’30s with inimitable panache. Mr. Sammons’ buttery baritone crooning on Johnny Marvin’s “Magnolia” will make any modern flapper swoon, and Miss Settlemier’s down-around-the-ankles contralto on such numbers as Annette Hanshaw’s “Six Feet of Papa” is sweeter than the crease on a southern peach. This versatile ensemble also features Hawaiian instrumentals, like Andy Iona’s dreamy “Sand,” and even songs from old-time country legend Jimmie Rodgers with “My Carolina Sunshine Girl” and “Nobody Knows But Me.”
The Serenaders rhythm section pounces and swings, held down by the steady and dependable standup bass work of veteran bassist Pete Lampe. But the key instrument that some critics say makes the Serenaders’ sound is the Hawaiian Steel Guitar, played with artful finesse by Mr. Henry Bogdan, who adds sweet melodic layers to the crooning songs and a taunting boost to the up-tempo numbers. Or perhaps the secret ingredient is Garner Pruitt’s chomping-at-the-bit trumpet playing interlaced with the melodic and sweet playing of clarinetist David Evans. Nevertheless, it is the sum of these parts that succeeds in creating a totally delightful and effervescent music.
To find out more about the Midnight Serenaders, visit them at: midnightserenaders.com
If you have questions, please contact Russ at (360)798-6929