This month, I am joined by one of the swing world’s most popular bandleaders and sought-after clarinetists, Paul Cosentino. Paul founded the Boilermaker Jazz Band in 1988 at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, and quickly became a mainstay at traditional jazz and Dixieland festivals for over a decade. Then in 2001, the Boilermakers first played specifically for Lindy Hoppers at the inaugural PittStop Lindy Hop and have been a fixture in the swing dance scene ever since, playing around the world at countless exchanges and events like ILHC and DCLX.
Paul and I got together at Stompology in Rochester NY, where we spoke about his extended family of musicians, his immersion in the Great American songbook at an early age, some of his early gigs playing clarinet with George Gee’s Make Believe Ballroom Orchestra in the 80's, and the Boilermakers' transition from Trad Jazz festivals to Lindy Hop events.
We also discussed the differences between being a sideman and a bandleader, touched on some of the great jazz clarinetists, explored the magic of improvisation both on the bandstand and the dance floor, and wondered if popular music will ever again see another Cole Porter.