Charleston Jazz Orchestra can get as down and dirty as the heaviest metal bands around. Rock on y’all.
Jazz music often gets a bad rap for being too cerebral or complicated or snooty — pick your high-and-mighty adjective — for regular people to really enjoy. But all it takes to bust that myth is to attend a concert by the city’s resident big band, the Charleston Jazz Orchestra (CJO). They’ll have you jumping out of your seat to dance by the second number, which could be a Latin-flavored tune by Antônio Carlos Jobim, a sultry song of Billie Holiday’s, or a jazzed-up, swingin’ Christmas carol (part of their annual Holiday Swing! performance). The orchestra is led by Maestro Charlton Singleton, composer, pianist, trumpet player, and music director of the CJO. Singer Leah Suárez, who is the executive director of the nonprofit Jazz Artists of Charleston, is the band’s resident vocalist. As for the members of the orchestra itself, suffice it to say that they are all at the tip-top of their game.