Solomon Douglas

Jazz Pianist, Bandleader, Dance Instructor, and DJ


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Solomon Douglas is a beloved dance teacher, musician and bandleader, known and respected throughout the worldwide swing dancing community; his bands have played at dance events everywhere. From September to December of 2006, he toured the United States and Japan as a member of the world-famous Glenn Miller Orchestra. He is now living on road, working as a freelance musician and dance instructor.

Dance Instructor

Solomon is recognized the world over as an exponent and teacher of Lindy Hop, Blues Dancing, and related dance styles of African-American origin (such as the Charleston and Vernacular Jazz). He began teaching dance in 1999, and he has taught dance workshops all over the United States, Canada, the British Isles, Australia, and Asia. His teaching is both passionate and easygoing, both practical and philosophical.

Bandleader

Solomon's bands (including the Solomon Douglas Swingtet, Back Pocket, Corner Pocket, and the Solomon Douglas Trio) have played at countless exchanges, camps, workshops, and other events in North America, Asia, and Australia since 2000. His experience as a swing dancer and dance instructor gives him an understanding unique among musicians of the music that swing dancers and blues dancers like to dance to!

His influences as a pianist include Erroll Garner, Oscar Peterson, Gene Harris, Count Basie, and Thelonious Monk. His small groups (such as the Solomon Douglas Trio) play a mixture of musical styles including blues, old-school swing, and groovy mainstream swinging jazz with tinges of bop and soul-jazz.

The Solomon Douglas Swingtet is a ten-piece dance band whose repertoire is rooted in that of the Basie band (One O'Clock Jump, Jive at Five, Splanky, Shorty George, Shiny Stockings) and that of the Ellington band (Cottontail, "C" Jam Blues, Mood Indigo, Take The "A" Train), with other big-band standards and classic jazz tunes thrown in as well. They can cater to a crowd that prefers up-tempo classic swing (such as Seattle or Cleveland), to a crowd that prefers slower groovier jazz (such as Portland or Toronto), or to anything in between. The band makes frequent appearances at the Century Ballroom (Seattle, WA) and at the Glen Echo Spanish Ballroom (Washington, DC). Past Lindy Exchange and dance camp events that featured the Solomon Douglas Swingtet include the Virginia Beach Lindy Exchange, Jun. 2007; Swing Out Nowhere (Moscow, ID), Apr. 2007; the Sacramento Swing Jam, Aug. 2006; the Philadelphia Lindy Exchange, Jun. 2006; Camp Jitterbug (Seattle, WA), May 2006 and May 2007; the Portland Lindy Exchange, Mar. 2006; the Emerald City Blues Festival (Seattle), Oct. 2005; the Seattle Lindy Exchange, Aug. 2005; Swing Out Northwest (near Seattle), Dec. 2002, Dec. 2004, and Dec. 2006; the All-Balboa Weekend (Cleveland), May 2003; the Detroit Lindy Exchange, May 2003; and the Toronto Lindy Exchange, Oct. 2002. The Solomon Douglas Swingtet released its first CD in November, 2006 and its second CD in June, 2009. You can read what the many sidemen who have played on the Solomon Douglas Swingtet have had to say about the band.

Swing and Blues DJ

Solomon is a frequent guest DJ at dance venues all over the United States, including the Century Ballroom (Seattle) and Frim Fram Jam (NYC). His musical tastes span a wide range of swinging music, including pre-swing “hot jazz” (Bix Beiderbecke, Jelly Roll Morton), the Swing Era (Count Basie, Jimmie Lunceford, Fletcher Henderson), post–Swing Era big band jazz (such as 1950s and 60s Duke Ellington and Count Basie), modern small-group swinging jazz (Oscar Peterson, Gene Harris), and of course the great vocalists (Ella Fitzgerald, Carmen McRae, Ernestine Anderson, Joe Williams). At Blues dancing events, he plays the great blues recordings of the above-mentioned jazz artists, in addition to such Blues artists as Jeannie Cheatham, Big Joe Turner, Jimmy Witherspoon, Tab Benoit, B.B. King, Junior Wells, and Jimmy Smith. Dancers often comment that his DJ sets include unusual freshness and variety; he always strives to play great music that many dancers aren’t familiar with, rather than sticking to the same over-played favorites.