Washington D.C.’s premiere working big band…fine solos…punch and precision…
The most fun I’ve had in years.
I haven’t heard it played that good since Basie!
Tom’s got the swingin’est band in all the land!
Dance legend and onetime Whitey’s Lindy Hopper
I get sent quite a few CDs from bands around the world, and I have to say that yours [Swingin’ and Singin’] is by far the best that I’ve ever had. The musicianship is excellent, and you guys bring the music to life in the way that the writers intended. It’s a real pleasure for me to listen to a band that cooks!
Chief Arranger, Lush Life Music
Something magical happens. Tom Cunningham raises his trumpet and his 17-member big band orchestra fills the Glen Echo Ballroom with the richness of Glenn Miller, Benny Goodman and other 1930’s and 40’s big band wizards. Suddenly, the room comes to life with dancers jitterbugging, fox trotting and swinging across the ballroom’s 180-foot floor. These are not dancers recapturing bygone days of youth. They are dancers of all ages who have come to spend the remaining weekend hours touch dancing and enjoying this purely American music.
I got your new CD [Swingin’ and Singin’]. WOW!!! It’s greater than GREAT, but I’m at a loss for words! I plan to feature it during the first hour of my program tomorrow night.
In The Mood, WYPR 88.1
[Regarding Swingin’ and Singin’]Wow! Tom hit it out of the park, as measured by this musician’s ears… I am speechless, or keyboardless, after hearing the TCO album. That is an extraordinary piece of art. The musicianship is incredible—I’ve listened to it very, very closely—and the arrangements are superb matches for the singers. Every tune is a jewel. Tom has made a remarkable addition to the big band canon; this can hold its own against anything I have heard from the last 75 years. You should be very proud of this. I am proud to have played a few gigs with the TCO, and will happily play the grooves off this for my friends. There are not enough superlatives, or at least ones of a high enough quality, to describe this. I am very impressed, and happy!
Mr. Cunningham’s band has balance and solid, well-rehearsed instrumentalists lovingly comfortable with musical arrangements older than most of them. Mr. Cunningham plays an authoritative and convincing Big Band swing and jazz trumpet very well, no mean feat for someone who hadn’t even been born yet when such music was standard fare.
The Washington Times
Mr. Cunningham & Co., I do believe you are the most rambunkshous [sic] noise makers in the world. Keep it up. I’ve got your CD and I can’t stop listening to it!
Tom Cunningham’s swinging, hip!
The Washington Post
You do a FANTASTIC job of keeping Big Band music alive and HOPPIN’.
-Amanda Carr, President and CEO
American Big Band Preservation Society, Inc.
[Regarding “Swingin’ & Singin’,”] You guys hit a home run, musically speaking! I can’t remember when I ever enjoyed listening to a CD that much. Your “Basie Boogie” was especially enjoyable to us. You sure have pegged the kind of stuff I like!
The entire ensemble displayed considerable finesse executing Ellington’s lush harmonies and exotic themes. And an expansive blues tune from Count Basie’s book quickly developed a robust swing momentum.
The Washington Post
Tom Cunningham… didn’t disappoint. It’s a shame that [the other] band couldn’t (or wouldn’t) answer TCO’s challenge, but anyone would have had a hard time keeping up with TCO’s blistering flag wavers such as Artie Shaw’s “Traffic Jam”, Count Basie’s “Every Tub”, Lionel Hampton’s “Flying Home”, and a raucous version of “Airmail Special” with a solo by a tenor sax that ruled it. (I’m sorry, but I don’t remember his name. It may have been Doug Morgan.) That’s not to say everything was fast as they kept people dancing in the aisles with standbys such as “Tain’t What You Do” “Why Don’t You Do Right”, and “It Must Be Jelly (‘Cause Jam Don’t Shake Like That)”
DC Lindy Exchange
I am impressed with your band and the material you’ve chosen. Congratulations!
-Milt Bernhart, President
Big Band Academy of America
We found the Tom Cunningham Orchestra playing “Take the A Train,” in white tie no less…trombones, trumpets, saxophones were in full swing. Out on the dance floor it looked like an Academy Awards production number. Guys in zoot suits and wide ties jitterbugging with girls in ponytails and flippy skirts. Dipping, diving, jumping, sliding, and nearly everyone in black-and-white boogie-woogie soft soles. Most of the dancers are in their twenties, thirties, or forties, but there are very old revelers and very young ones too. Not everyone is in period dress: some women teeter in heels and floaty frocks; others are in jeans.
The New York musicians were impressed with Cunningham’s band and mentioned how tight their ensemble playing was. They regretted not having a chance to hang out with the Cunningham band. But everyone had fun and it was a great high for the band. This really charged them up and me too. What a great sound to hear both bands together.
-Alan D. Sugarman
The big band is alive and well in the hands of Tom Cunningham and remains a potent entity in what is identified as big band jazz.
WDCU-FM Jazz 90
Where have we been all these years, missing your great sounds?! Trust me, we will definitely treat ourselves to that wonderful experience again! Thanks for doing what you do.
WWII Pilot’s Association
They play swing era music in an authentic fashion. Their soloists are above average and the band is highly danceable.
[Regarding “All the Cats Join In”] Here’s a guy from the DC area who has a spectacular Big Band displaying both precision and discipline, but with the ability to swing. This Big Band is good, and it’s a record you’ll enjoy listening to for it’s beautifully performed with energy, skill, and enthusiasm.
Big Band Jump Newsletter
Your orchestra played a MAJOR part in making the entire evening such an enjoyable, huge success!
-Captain Edgar E. Mallick, Chairman
United States Naval Academy Class of ‘44 50th Reunion Committee
The Cunningham repertoire is surprisingly strong…the band’s collective strength is best displayed in richly colorful passages…and amid the jaunty, boppish harmonies…
The Washington Post
The high quality of music and the professional nature your group presented to the audience is indicative of the type of performances we make an effort to provide through this series, and was the finest way we could think of to end the season in grand fashion. As you are aware, this program depends on the support of the community it serves, and your group’s concert certainly helped us maintain that necessary support; as illustrated by the favorable comments we received from the visitors in attendance.
-Michael E. Grant
National Park Service