March 22, 2022 by 1888media
The Knights of Swing, LLC and E3 Music Productions have announced the March 25 Vimeo On Demand release of ‘Knights of Swing,’ a feature length film powered by an incredible cast and crew of dreamers and believers.
Set in 1947, tracing the challenges, disappointments and successes of six high school boys, and the girls who join them to form a really swingin’ big band.
With the action set in Lynwood, CA (at “Castle High”), the story follows an inclusive group of musicians trying to navigate a world that is still very much entrenched in prejudices and antiquated worldviews.
The 1940s was a period of both great turmoil and hope, with The United States having just come out of World War II but the Civil Rights movement still years away.
Through their trials and tribulations, and sense of duty to persevere against all odds, Knights of Swing is a moving portrait that shows music can unite people from different cultures, backgrounds, and races. The hours of dedicated practice and just being together doesn’t merely bond them in a unique way, it creates a special world where they find refuge and peace from the aftermath of war and the challenges of the adult world.
As a child, Jacks played Frank Sinatra in a Junior High musical and has been singing in choirs, quartets and as a soloist ever since. Throughout his teenage years he studied classical piano and also played alto and baritone sax in a big swing band that won the Battle of the Bands.
To direct the action, Jacks enlisted Emilio Palame, a highly-regarded pianist/vocalist, producer and film & TV composer/arranger for 45 years. Palame’s resume includes over 50 film & TV credits including Nickelodeon’s “Ned’s Declassified School Survival Guide,” Expelled and Prodigy.
On the music front, Palame’s worked with the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra, Paul Williams, Lanie Kazan, Connie Stevens, jazz artists Chuck Mangione and Grant Geissman, and as accompanist/conductor for the incomparable legend Miss Peggy Lee.
Also at the helm were co-director David Gutel, who helped write the screenplay with Jacks and Palame, and producer Donald Nguyen, who runs a production company called Reel Big Studios (RB Studios) in Orange County.
By arranging and orchestrating all the music, Palame actually created the band, the Knights of Swing, who’s core group includes best friends Gifford Williams (songwriter/vocalist/saxophonist played by Curran Barker) and Nolan Edwards (piano player brought to life by Kyle DeCamp) along with Conrad White (lead trombonist/vocalist played by Jeremy Staple) and their long time friends Elliott (lead trumpeter played by Christopher Pollock), Kenny (bassist played by Brandon Ruiter) and Duke (drummer played by Greg Sadler).
Palame plays “Lou Arthur” (or “King Arthur”), the former jazz pianist turned school principal, who helps navigate behind the scenes as political pressures mount.
To bolster the band’s sound, the Knights add vocal group The 3 B’s, which features Beverly on lead vocals (played by Emily Goglia), Bonnie, the alto (played by Ivana Céspedes Jordan), and Barb, the soprano (played by Olivia Dessy).
Together with their Musical Conductor, Mr. Miller, played by actor Richard Neil, known for his work on Veronica Mars, Prodigy and The Bold and The Beautiful, the team of fourteen set out to foster change, one heart, one mind and one battle at a time.
“Knights of Swing is the most important artistic endeavor I have been a part of in my long standing career. The symmetry of working with such talented and dedicated people to tell a story that confronts racism, loss, the consequence of war, yet also shows forgiveness, unconditional love and the power of music to bring people together, is a gift that has touched my heart and I know will reach yours,” said Palame.
Co-Director David Gutel concurs, “Knights of Swing at its core is about having a dream and putting in the hard work to make it a reality. Directing this movie along side Emilio Palame was a dream come true for me and i hope that this film inspires people to follow their dreams.”
The uplifting, toe-tapping original songs heard throughout the movie are the result of a decades long musical relationship between Jacks and Palame. For over twenty years, these close friends have been collaborating on a canon of heartfelt, spirited and entertaining songs ranging in style from Pop and Gospel to Musical Theater, Jazz and Swing.
Something special really clicked with the film’s lead composition, the jazzy bluesy “Schoolroom Blues.” It was magic. From there, the defacto theme song, “You’ve Gotta Have A Dream” and the romantic “Love Is Ours Tonight” were born with the chemistry continuing to click on the infectious “Cucamonga,” the melancholic, “No Bright Tomorrows,” the shiny luminescence of “Ooh Baby You’re Driving Me Crazy,” and the climatic closer, “The Victory Stomp.” The energy is palpable.
Adding further credibility to the authenticity of the era are the inclusion of the Peggy Lee classic “Things Are Swingin’” in the score and the appearance of 22-time Grammy nominee (and 4-time Grammy winner) Gordon Goodwin in the role of “Mr. Hughes,” one of the judges presiding over the grand finale, the California Battle of the Bands.
Goodwin is well-known throughout the big band world for his 18-pc ensemble, the Big Phat Band, which returns to the Hollywood Bowl this summer for the inaugural Hollywood Bowl Jazz Fest.
Further bolstering the music, the contributions of esteemed Grammy Award-winning (and 3-time Grammy Nominee) vocal producer/arranger Darlene Koldenhoven (Yanni, Sister Act, Sister Act 2) and renowned drummer/vibraphonist Bob Leatherbarrow (The Simpsons, Natalie Cole, Nelly Furtado), who provided a sublime underscore, were immeasurable, faithfully creating the musical authenticity of the era.
Beginning Friday, March 25, the film, available in 1080p and 4K, will be available for $4.99 for a 48-hour streaming rental via Vimeo on Demand. Closed-captioning available in English, Spanish and Japanese with further languages to be added.
In person and on your screen, it’s time to get dancin’. The Knights of Swing are ready to soar!
Music from the Motion Picture: “Knights of Swing”
1. Schoolroom Blues
2. You’ve Gotta Have A Dream
3. Love Is Ours Tonight
5. Guessin’ Game
6. Ooh Baby You’re Driving Me Crazy
7. The Dingle Finger
9. Bev and Giff’s Diner Date
10. Song for Now
11. I’m Falling In Love With You
12. Things Are Swingin’*
13. Scrambled Eggs (Instrumental)
14. Baby Don’t Cry Now
15. Wilson High Victory Stomp
16. Battle of the Bands Medley
17. No Bright Tomorrows
18. The Victory Stomp (Instrumental)
Lyrics by Rolland Jacks
Music by Rolland Jacks and Emilio Palame
Music Arranged and Orchestrated by Emilio Palame
Vocals Arranged by Darlene Koldenhoven
Underscore by Bob Leatherbarrow and E3 Music Productions
*Except for Things Are Swingin’ by Jack Marshall and Peggy Lee (Denslow Music Inc, ASCAP; Universal Music Publishing Group)