by: SUBMITTED PHOTO - The 3-year-old Midnight Serenaders includes some of Portland's better jazz players who have rallied around the vintage swing flag.On Sunday, Nov. 18, the regular session of the Portland Dixieland Jazz Society will present an early jazz concert and dance featuring the very popular Midnight Serenaders, a red-hot vocal group that proves there’s more to early jazz than banjos and tubas.

The Midnight Serenaders play the Milwaukie Elks Lodge, 13121 S.E. McLoughlin Blvd., from 1 to 5 p.m. Admission is $15 for the public.

Doug Sammons, a New York rocker turned bluegrass and old-time musician, turned his latest musical epiphany into a swinging sextet that marries the best parts of old country — a la Jimmy Rodgers and lap steel guitars — to the swing era of the 1920s and ‘30s.

The 3-year-old Midnight Serenaders includes some of Portland’s better jazz players, who Sammons has rallied around the vintage swing flag.

“I just started discovering people and finding these songs,” he said. “It’s come together based on this idea of a sound I have, this Jimmy Rodgers sound, but it’s morphing.”

Hawaiian steel player and group co-founder Henry Bogdan, former bassist for ‘90s rock band Helmet, plays large in Sammons’ sound. Copping trombone parts from early arrangements is his starting point in a lot of the Serenaders’ material. The band, which has released the CD “Magnolia,” features strong vocals from Sammons and singer Dee Settlemier, who also adds ukulele, banjo and guitar.

The sound is rounded out with former New Orleans saxman and clarinetist David Evans, Garner Pruitt on trumpet and vocals, and Pete Lampe (of Pete’s Bass Shop) on upright. The members favor period-appropriate attire, but it’s the red-hot swing that’s bringing in growing numbers of dancers.

Sammons said, “Now I’m playing happy music. It’s great see to smiles on people’s faces.”

The Portland Tribune said, “You’d be forgiven for thinking that the Midnight Serenaders’ album was a long-lost relic from the first part of the 20th century, rescued from a dusty 78 and restored to its former glory. This band of seasoned musicians has essentially done just that . . . reviving lost classics from the vintage jazz era while keeping the inherent giddiness of that time perfectly intact.”

Portland Dixieland Jazz Society is a nonprofit organization dedicated to the preservation and promotion of traditional jazz music. Jazz is a uniquely American art form which is a fusion of many musical elements, including ragtime, the blues, African, Spanish, and West Indian rhythms, and traditional European marches, quadrilles, folk songs and even hymns.

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