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Omni Grove Park Inn’s Big Band Weekend bedazzles
Monday, 03 February 2020 12:08

Jimmy Dorsey Orchestra entertains Big Band fans, dancers at posh soirée 

The Jimmy Dorsey Band was featured at the 30th annual Big Band Dance Weekend that drew hundreds of ballroom dancers Jan. 10-12 at the Omni Grove Park Inn in North Asheville.

Jimmy Dorsey (1904-1957) was “an American musician who — both independently and with his brother Tommy — led one of the most popular big bands of the swing era. He was also a highly talented saxophone and clarinet player,” according to

As for the event’s location, one promotion stated, “The magnificent Omni Grove Park Inn is North Carolina’s oldest and most famous resort.”

The several hundred attendees were afforded the opportunity, as an event promotion stated, “ to swing dance away the weekend.” The Jimmy Dorsey Band entertained on both nights of the event — Jan. 10-11.

As another promotion stated, “Bring your dancing shoes and hit the floor for a weekend of great Big Band and Swing Dance music. This is a ‘don’t miss’ weekend for those who value and treasure the Big Band era of music and dance!”

Event activities for package holders include dance instruction, an exclusive afternoon tea dance, and two nights full of performances. Other weekend offerings included guided history tours, a cooking demonstration, chair massages, and live themed music throughout the resort. 

The band was stellar, led by David Pruyn, who also played trumpet and sang male leads, while the female vocalist was his wife, Michele, who delighted the crowd with her vocal mastery, stagecraft and obvious love for the music and its fans.

The Jan. 11 show featured three sets, with the Daily Planet present for most of the first set, the complete set and the beginning of the third set.

The setlist was as follows:

First set — “Contrasts,” “Stealin’ Apples,” “Frenesi,” “New York, N.Y.,” “I’m Glad There Is You,” Tangerine,” “How Long Has This Been Going On?” “Mambo Jambo,” “June Night,” “I Hadn’t Anyone ‘Til You,” “J.D.’s Boggie Woogie,” “Look for the Silver Lining,” Waltz Medley (“Emily” and “Dear Heart”), “Who’s Sorry Now?” “Mambo Italiano” and “Two O’Clock Jump.”

Second set — “The One I Love,” “All My Tomorrows,” “Something’s Gotta Give,” “Amapola,” “When You’re Smiling,” “Green Eyes,” “So Rare,” “Nice and Easy,” “Mambo Inn,” “The Man I Love,” “Alone Together” and “Armed Forces Medley.”

Third set — “Mambo Caliente,” “Stars Fell on Alabama,” “Time After Time,” “I’ve Heard That Song Before,” “It’s Been a Long, Long Time,” “Poor Butterfly,” “Brazil,” “Put Your Dreams Away,” “Hey, There,” “In the Cool, Cool, Cool of the Evening” and “Jamie.”

In a look back in history, the Dorsey Brothers Band reportedly broke up in 1935 during a near-violent disagreement — on stage — over how to play an arrangement of “I’ll Never Say ‘Never Again’ Again,” with Tommy Dorsey, famous for his trombone work, storming off the stage for the night, leaving Jimmy and the remainder of the band to finish the show. 

Later, the brothers, each of whom — growing up in a feisty Irish family — reportedly had a terrible temper and able to hold a long-running grudge, with each running a competing band under his name. 

Many biographers believe the brothers were reunited when they were asked to star together in a 1947 film, “The Fabulous Dorseys,” a fictionalized biographical film.
— Review by John North


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