The Shanghai Woolies play "hot music", the 1920’s and 30’s jazz and pop of Chicago and New York City. The eight-piece ensemble, founded by Pink Martini trumpet player Gavin Bondy, swims in the romantic sounds of Louis Armstrong and Duke Ellington, the orchestral soundscapes of Paul Whiteman and the Big Band swing of Benny Goodman. They approach it all in a very respectful, yet unorthodox manner, using whatever tools they can, to recall its colorful liberation.
In the winter of 1999, Gavin began to write a book for a new band which would include his brother Clark on reeds, and a singer, Miss Khilmony Downs, who had caught his imagination during their stint together in Pink Martini.
In its day, this music was energetic, inventive, colorful, rebellious, even scandalous, and always fun. The Shanghai Woolies approach it in the same spirit. Expect world-class musicians, broken conventions, a variety of moods, good humor, and plenty of opportunities for great dancing.
On April 17, 2004, the band released their debut CD, Jungle Nights, to an enthusiastic house at the Aladdin Theater in Portland, Oregon. National Public Radio later put the third track, Concerto for Trumpet, on their Open Mic web site where the public voted and gave it one of the highest ratings ever.
Since then, The Woolies play an extremely wide variety of shows, with "...a new twist on the music of the flapper era: Jitterbug music, Big Band, Swing. The raucous, slippery foot-happy jazz you'd expect to hear at the legendary Cotton Club...hard to resist..." The Oregonian.
"Though Brian Setzer, Cherry-Poppin' Daddies, and others have paved this road, the fanciest, coolest machine on the highway is The Shangai Woolies." James Rogers, Victory Review - NW Roots Music.
"This Union of Portland journeymen ain't your average attempt to hop on the swing cart. Mixing and matching from the disparate closets of pop, blues and jazz...new take on le jazz hot. With choices ranging from W.C. Handy to Raymond Scott, this is dyed-in-the-wool eclecticism." Bill Smith, Willamette Week.
"Sound Advice: Don't let anyone pull the Woolies over your eyes. Get in early on Portland's next hot band ... Hot jazz, baby." Jonathan Nicholas, The Oregonian
Sound samples coming soon!