The Savoy Ball, Saturday 27th April 2019 The Grand Hall Battersea Arts Centre LONDON SW11 5TN

The Savoy Ball, 8pm-12.30am

"Chick Webb & America's outstanding Swing Band vs Count Basie & his Orchestra"
16th January 1938, The Savoy Ballroom, Harlem, New York City

The King of the Drums battles the Royalist of the Keyboard

Get your dancing shoes and glad rags on and transport yourself back to the style, glamour, romance and excitement of the 1930s Swing Era!

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Count Basie Chick Webb

"Count Basie vs Chick Webb at The Savoy Ballroom"

We are very, very excited to bring you the return of the Savoy Ball... and this time we really have pulled out all the stops! We're re-creating the historic night on January 16th 1938 when Count Basie took on Chick Webb in the Battle of the Bands, at the world-famous New York hotspot, the "home of happy feet" - Harlem's Savoy Ballroom.

We are proud to present two full Big Bands comprising today's very best swing and jazz musicians put together by the one and only Pete Long.

Prepare to Battle with the Bands as Basie's All-Star Contenders take on Chick's Savoy Champions!

Who will win this time? - you decide!

Tickets - £45

Buy tickets to the Ball

Special Offer - Matinee (front stalls) + Ball (general admission)

Also available at Eventbrite

Strict Dress code - Vintage/Retro or Black Tie
Strictly NO denim, t-shirts or trainers

The Savoy Ballroom and The Savoy Ball

The Savoy Ball was conceived back in 2002 as a tribute to the legendary Savoy Ballroom of Harlem, New York City, where swing music and dancing (especially the Lindy hop) were taken to their greatest heights during the 1930s. After a break of 5 years The Savoy Ball returns, bigger and better than ever... put on your dancin' shoes, straighten up your white tie, top hat and tails, and head on uptown... to the Savoy Ball!

The Savoy Ballroom The Savoy Ball

The Savoy Ballroom, located in Harlem, New York City, was a large sized ballroom for music and public dancing that was in operation from 1926 to 1958. It was located between 140th and 141st Streets on Lenox Avenue. The Savoy was a popular dance venue from the late 1920s to the 1950s and many dances such as the Lindy hop became famous there. It was known downtown as the "Home of Happy Feet" but uptown, in Harlem, as "the Track". Unlike the 'whites only' policy of the Cotton Club, the Savoy Ballroom was integrated where white and black Americans danced together.

The ballroom was a block long. It had a double bandstand that held one large and one medium sized band running against its east wall. Music was continuous as the alternate band was always in position ready to pick up the beat, when the previous band had completed its set. The Savoy was unique in having the constant presence of a skilled elite of the best Lindy hoppers. Usually known as "Savoy Lindy Hoppers" occasionally they turned professional - the most famous of all being Whitey's Lindy Hoppers - and performed in Broadway and Hollywood productions.

Stompin' At The Savoy - a 1934 Big Band classic song and jazz standard - was named after the ballroom.

Big Band Battles

Chick Webb was the leader of the best known Savoy house band during the mid-1930s. A teenage Ella Fitzgerald, fresh from a talent show win at the Apollo Theater, became its vocalist.

The Savoy regularly staged "Battle of the Bands" promotions that usually occurred between a house and a guest band, although not necessarily. Sometimes the bands would trade numbers at the change-over point between sets. Invariably packed when these events took place, there was little room to dance - there will be plenty of room at the Savoy Ball! - and the crowd would vote as to who was their favourite band, band leader, vocalist etc. Two of the most famous "battles" happened when the Benny Goodman Orchestra challenged Chick Webb in 1937 and in 1938 when the Count Basie Orchestra did the same. The general assessment was that they both lost, to Chick Webb. Who will win this time? You decide!

Useful links

Welcome to the Savoy - Bringing Harlem's legendary ballroom back to life

Wikipedia - The Savoy Ballroom
Archives of Early Lindy Hop

The Savoy Ball, Saturday 27th April 2019 The Grand Hall Battersea Arts Centre LONDON SW11 5TN