Big band music is about to make a comeback in New Orleans thanks to Elvin Monteleone, a native who decided it was time to come home and bring his unique vision back with him.
Big bands were big business through the 1950s, but fell out of favor due to changing tastes in music and the expense of maintaining a large roster of musicians. Monteleone, who fell in love with Glenn Miller's music while playing Alto Sax in high school at De La Salle, says he woke up one morning in Scottsdale, AZ and decided it was time he started a 20-piece big band.
Six weeks after Monteleone put the word out, he had 30 people, had formed the Sonoran Serenade Big Band, and had found instant success. Now, he's talking about bringing his collection of 8000 big band charts to UNO.
Jack Hopke sat down with Monteleone, and UNO Music Department professor and jazz pianist Victor Atkins, to talk about what attracts them to big band music, and why New Orleans is primed for the music to return.