Big Band of the Week – Powerhouse Big Band

Powerhouse is the official jazz big band of Community College of Baltimore County (CCBC)’s Essex campus. The band was led by bassist Ashton Fletcher until his death in 2015. Since then trombonist John Morgan has directed the band. Pianist George Spicka describes Morgan as “a great director, very knowledgeable, especially with horns, inspirational, with a lot of enthusiasm.” “He gets the musicians to play better than they think they can,” says Spicka.

Powerhouse’s repertoire is described by Spicka as “a lot of hard tunes, not your Glenn Miller-type big band charts. Some of them are quite challenging.” Powerhouse’s book includes arrangements by Hank Levy, Gordon Goodwin, John Clayton, Dave Wolpe, Oliver Nelson, Sammy Nestico, Michael Mossman, Lennie Niehaus and Spicka himself.

For the past two years Powerhouse has been the featured big band at the Valencia Ballroom in York, PA., for an event called The Big Swing Thing. Other gigs have included a concert each semester at CCBC and Friday night swing dances in Towson. You may view nearly two hours of the 2017 Big Swing Thing at youtube.com and hear five audio tracks on http://www.reverbnation.com/thepowerhousebigband.

This article continues our series on area big bands — if you missed any of them, you can catch them here at Big Band of the Week.