Attention Wonderful RSJO Fans!

In these difficult times we are looking for Patrons to keep RSJO afloat.

 

Almost all of our concerts and engagements have been cancelled into the foreseeable future so we are inviting you to become a Patron of the Royal Society Jazz Orchestra and support our music. With your support, we can work on some delightful projects that we know you would enjoy. To make it easy for you we have signed up with Patreon.com.
  



Please click on the Patreon Button to make your contribution. 

 

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Keep abreast of upcoming performances by
Don Neely's Royal Society Jazz Orchestra,
Carla Normand, Frederick Hodges, and Don Neely's Rhythm Aces.

You never know where we'll show up!



Consider Hiring a "Live" Vintage Jazz and Swing Band For Your Special Event!
Or Even A "Live" Dixieland or Speakeasy Band For Your Theme Party!

Don Neely and the Royal Society Jazz Orchestra and their smaller ensembles of the San Francisco Bay Area affectionately and authentically recapture the excitement, charm, and romance of the celebrated music originating from the 1920s and 1930s - often known as the Jazz Age and early Swing Era. 

The Roaring Twenties, the decade when George Gershwin was the toast of New York for his famous jazz inspired piano concerto "Rhapsody in Blue," performed with Paul Whiteman's Orchestra. When Fats Waller wowed the world with his pianistic genius and his iconic song "Ain't Misbehavin." When Duke Ellington starred at the Cotton Club in Harlem, and when Louis Armstrong played what came to be known as Dixieland Jazz or New Orleans Jazz with King Oliver in Chicago. The decade of the 1930s during the Great Depression was when Cole Porter wrote his unforgettable hit "I Get A Kick Out of You," and Benny Goodman was the "King Of Swing," and film musicals from Hollywood kept the population humming their catchy tunes. It was a time of immense creative flowering which ushered in an extraordinary renaissance of music and art. The recent television show, Boardwalk Empire has introduced many newcomers to the authentic sound of 1920s jazz.

Neely and his talented crew of vocalists and soloists are dedicated to preserving and performing the music from that artistic renaissance through their live performances and CDs. Neely and his players are elegantly spotlighted on each song, and their thrilling solos make 
 

the music come alive with spine tingling Jazz Age feeling.



The Royal Society Jazz Orchestra's Music Lights Up A Speakeasy Party

Speaking of chills, when singer Carla  Normand steps into the spotlight, her expressive and lilting style reveals the melodic and lyrical heart and soul of the song, whether it's a snappy swing number or a smoldering torch song. Frederick Hodges brings smiles of delight with his virtuostic piano playing and whimsical singing style. Our smaller ensembles play Romantic Background Music ideal for cocktail parties, weddings, and elegant soirees, and of course play their signature sound of the Roaring Twenties, Dixieland Jazz and Vintage Swing. The "R.S.J.O." has performed at virtually all of the high profile events in San Francisco including opening night balls for the San Francisco Opera, Symphony, and Ballet and for many stylish 1920s and 1930s theme parties and lovely vintage weddings. The R.S.J.O. has also performed for many events sponsored by the creative Art Deco Society of California including:

  • The Gatsby Summer Afternoon featuring a Roaring Twenties Theme and includes numerous Charlestons, Foxtrots and lovely dance troop The Decobelles.
  • The Art Deco Preservation Ball featuring Vintage 1930s and early '40s Swing

San Francisco is famous for many things. One of them is the City's vibrant and varied jazz scene, with its history going back to the 1890s when Ragtime was played in the red light district of the Barbary Coast. Jazz, and eventually Swing spread to the speakeasies, swank hotels, theatres, and night spots, and continues today. The Royal Society Jazz Orchestra lovingly specializes in the authentic hot jazz that was the rage of the Great Gatsby Era of the Roaring Twenties, and the exciting Big Band Swing of the 1930s Depression Era exemplified by such artists as Benny Goodman and Count Basie whose Swing music ignited a musical craze that is alive today.


Don Neely's Royal Society Jazz Orchestra Gatsby Summer Affair, Oakland, Carla Normand performing 1920s jazz for art deco society, vintage western swing, bob wills texas playboys, speakeasy jazz, flappers, roaring twenties, san francisco chronicle

Don Neely's Royal Society Jazz Orchestra

"Lovingly and precisely recaptures the sound in an irrepressible, irresistible style ... Neely deserves a
national medal ... for preserving this music with such affection and accuracy ..."

- San Francisco Chronicle




"perfect in capturing the full essence of the past ... the band plays with an effervescence ... Neely' s group really has the sound down pat ... Carla Normand' s voice is akin to singers of that period - Leah Ray, Helen Rowland and Annette Hanshaw as examples. Normand is really the find."

 - Rapport,  Contemporary guide to Books Art & Entertainment,

 Los Angeles




   

"Capturing the feeling, phrasing and intonation of bands that recorded over fifty years ago is not easy, as is proven constantly by contemporary ensemble that try. But the R.S.J.O. is more successful and versatile ... placing its primary emphasis on the spirit of the originals, not on slavish, note-for-note accuracy."

 - John S. Wilson


Don Neely
Bandleader, arranger, reed player,
songwriter, vocalist


Carla Normand, Singer
  "...Normand is a bright, sure pitched gem of a voice...is the band's perfect singer (with her Depression-era inflections) She sings Ruth Etting better than Etting; and there are touches of Libby Holman, Mildred Bailey, Annette Hanshaw and Ethel Waters in Normand' s voice, too.Her years of working with the Royal Society band have taught her how to sing within an instrumental ensemble, not merely in front or 'on top. of' an accompanying group."
- Phillip Elwood,
Jazz Critic
San Francisco Chronicle
San Francisco Examiner
 "...the whole idea soars when Normand steps to the mike and, in her lithe voice, sings "Get Out and Get Under The Moon" (which is so Etting-ish it's spooky)"
- Gerald Nachman
San Francisco Chronicle


"Carla Normand has a warm, rich voice and sings in a boldly confident style ... all of which she delivers with awareness of the lyrics and the nuances of the composer' s craft."

 - Jazz Journal International,

 Great Britain

Carla Normand - Vocalist
Songs:
Pennies From Heaven 
with Royal Society Jazz Orchestra
Keepin' Out Of Mischief Now 
with Royal Society Jazz Orchestra
The Very Thought Of You
with Royal Society Jazz Orchestra
Soft Lights And Sweet Music 
with Royal Society Jazz Sextet

 

We invite you to experience the scintillating sounds of 1920s Jazz and Big Band Swing
in San Francisco, played by The Royal Society Jazz Orchestra and our smaller ensembles.