Crystal Swing Band • Live From The Avalon Ballroom
Back in the 1990s, it was not uncommon for many cities to have their own neighborhood swing orchestra, playing the hits of the big band era for nostalgic audiences. With the inevitable passing of time, the audiences shrunk and virtually all of the veterans of the swing era have passed away. But fortunately, a few of these local big bands still exist even in 2022.
Drummer Kristin Anderson-Bohan formed the Crystal Swing Band in 1988, an ensemble that is based in Boulder, Colorado. Surprisingly, Live From The Avalon Ballroom (recorded at two sessions in 2016-17 and first released in 2020) is their first recording although a smaller combo taken from the big band had made a previous CD. The full 13-piece unit performs hits of the swing era along with three more recent pieces that easily fit in: “I’ve Never Been In Love Again,” “I Left My Heart In San Francisco,” and “L-O-V-E.”
The band’s strengths are its ensembles and its spirit. The soloists are decent with trumpeter Chaz Bowles (who also has five friendly vocals) taking honors, but it is the sound of the full group and their joy at playing this vintage music that is most memorable. The results are fun and always quite danceable including versions of “Two O’Clock Jump,” “Leap Frog,” “720 In The Books,” “Intermission Riff,” and “Moonglow.” This would be an enjoyable band to see live. Written by Scott Yanow. To see this review online, go to https://syncopatedtimes.com/crystal-swing-band-live-from-the-avalon-ballroom/
Very Fine New Audio Recording by The Crystal Swing Band
"The Crystal Swing Band" – Recorded live in The Avalon Ballroom
This CD is a very fine recording of the 13-piece big band “Crystal Swing”, led by Boulder-based drummer Kristin Anderson. In addition, Kristin’s career included serving as the booking manager for performances at the famous Macky Auditorium at CU Boulder for many years, and is now the Events Manager for Naropa University at their campus directly east of The Avalon.
This disk of 19 tracks covers some of the most central swing dance compositions of the Big Band Era. Most are instrumentals, but a few are nicely sung by trumpeter Chaz Bowles. There are three ballads included, as well as the cha-cha-cha “Tea For Two”, and the rousing “Sing, Sing, Sing” played at a very nice dance tempo (featuring Kristin on the traps, of course). There are also two lovely relaxed-lindy-tempo pieces, and “Woodchoppers Ball” at a perfect swing tempo.
Of note is that this is the first dance music compilation to be recorded at our Avalon Ballroom in Boulder. The recording is clean and crisp, and the musicianship is fine. Some lovely solo work on sax and trumpet appears (listen to “Leap Frog”, the “Intermission Riff”, and “I’ve Never Been In Love Before” and others). All instruments are clearly audible – no muddle. The liner notes on the physical CD are quite complete including dates of composition, name of arrangers, names of soloists, and commentary on each piece. I note that our expert Frank Vernon is the recording engineer for the two live dates where these pieces were recorded at our swing dances in November 2016 and August 2017.
I have hosted Kristin’s “Crystal Swing Band” every year at our monthly swing dance series. I suggest to all of my bands my preferences for a great performance of dance music for dancers, and I must say that Kristin has been the bandleader that has most taken to heart and worked towards these objectives for the best dance experiences. And there is not a nicer person to be found, along with her husband Patrick Bohan. (Kristin and Patrick celebrated their wedding ten years ago in the Avalon Ballroom, and the big band played that party!) I love dancing to this band and this recording is a very worthy addition to my music library. I strongly recommend it to you.
Jim Borzym, American Vernacular Dance
"I really like the new CD from the Crystal Swing Band. If you want to support local music and enjoy some terrific arrangements of good old traditional big band swing, I highly recommend this CD. Really cool.”
Rodger Hara, DJ at KGNU Radio, Swing Shift show
VoyageDenver, an online publication, conducted an interview with Kristin, and you can read the full interview by going to their website - http://voyagedenver.com/interview/meet-kristin-anderson-bohan-of-longmont