Known locally for performing with the Etowah Jazz Society, Saunders Jones Jr. is looking forward to introducing area residents to his second musical group at Music by the Tracks Saturday.
Ongoing from 7 to 9 p.m., the Big Band Contractors' show will wrap up the four-concert series at Friendship Plaza in downtown Cartersville. In addition to live entertainment, the event will feature food and drinks for purchase.
"The Big Band Contractors is under contract with Toni Byrd to do some of her shows," said Jones, the band's music director. "We are doing a Natalie Cole tribute show and have just finished recording a tribute CD at Connect Live Studio in Woodstock. The tunes from this show are taken from that CD.
"… Big Band Contractors is a big band for hire, and we play with artists that need a big band," he said, adding the group consists of about 18 musicians from the metro-Atlanta area. "We have been together for six years or so, and when Toni came to us with the idea of doing a Natalie Cole show we were excited. She is such a great talent and just got back from her European tour to Portugal with a jazz combo of about six of us — great fun."
As Jones noted, the Big Band Contractors' show will primarily consist of songs previously recorded and performed by Cole. Familiar with the Music by the Tracks' venue, the Cartersville resident shared Friendship Plaza's atmosphere has some unique components.
"I live in Cartersville and am a retired orthopedic surgeon and spent my career here in Cartersville," he said. "I run another local big band here in Cartersville, the Etowah Jazz Society, and I am going to enjoy bringing my other band to Cartersville with Toni Byrd who is a world-class singer.
"Friendship Plaza is a nice venue — except for the trains. It's not that formal so the folks can get up and dance and have a great time."
For Hannah Surrett — Cartersville Downtown Development Authority’s marketing and promotions coordinator — the Big Band Contractors will be a "fun" way to close out this year's series.
"The Big Band Contractors were chosen to wrap up the Music by the Tracks concert series because we think their performance will be incredible," she said. "… This band is different than the others that have played this year — not in just their genre of music, but their performance tactic. They're going to be loud and so fun to watch."
Prior to the Big Band Contractors, Music by the Tracks — presented the third Saturday of the month from June through September — featured the Colby Deitz Band, Babe's Bayou and TRIBUTE — a celebration of The Allman Brothers Band this summer.
"The turnout this year has been incredible," Surrett said. "All of the bands have been so fun to watch, and the crowds have been amazing. I have nothing but good things to say about this year’s concert series. I think these concerts have been very well received, and the DDA can’t wait until next year.
"One of my favorite moments is from when the Colby Deitz Band played back in June. A little boy was up in front breakdancing, and some members of the crowd went up and joined him — they didn’t breakdance, but they bobbed along with him. It was so cute and funny. Another favorite moment of mine was when Babe's Bayou played back in July, and it felt like all of Cartersville showed up to see. It was such an amazing feeling knowing that the public enjoys something we put so much time and effort into."
For more information about the Music by the Tracks event, visit http://downtowncartersville.org or contact the Cartersville DDA at 770-607-3480. Further details about the Big Band Contractors can be obtained online at www.bigband.band.