Next Big Swing
Dizzy Burnett and Grover Coe stir up a swooping dance night at Cibo.
Thursday, December 3, 2009
In the late ’90s, a swing revival hit this country hard, transforming legions of wallflowers into dipping, stepping, spinning dancers. Locally, the house band for this music and its accompanying dance craze was the Dizzy Burnett Quartet, which performed at Bluefin Billiards’ Swing Nights every Thursday evening for two years before the joint shuttered. (It reopened under new ownership in early 2009.)
With her native Brooklyn accent still intact, Burnett recalls playing to close to 200 people a week at that time. “There were couples that got married who met at those Bluefin shows,” she says.
Though the swing craze has subsided slightly in the years since, Burnett, who sings and plays an almost 6-foot-tall standup bass named Kit, has kept doing a mix of swing, jazz and lounge with her longtime bandmate, guitarist and vocalist Grover Coe. This August, the duo began a weekly Tuesday night gig at Monterey’s Cibo Ristorante. Burnett and Coe start with a dinner set of jazz and boss nova before letting the mood of the evening dictate their next set.
“We just kind of go with what’s going on,” Burnett says.
Having played together for 17 years, Burnett and Coe were playing swing long before the craze, and they’ll be doing it for years to come. Burnett says her music idols include Ella Fitzgerald and Billie Holiday, while Coe likes “the rougher side,” including Ray Charles and Dean Martin. But the two sets of interests click – as do the musicians’ talents.
“We just kind of fit,” Burnett says. “We’re like bookends.”
While she adds the swing boom of the late ’90s “was just too crazy,” she knows some good came from that passing fad.
“It was a great time,” she says. “It introduced people to the genre.”
DIZZY BURNETT AND GROVER COE play 8:30pm Tuesdays, including Dec. 8, at Cibo Ristorante, 301 Alvarado St., Monterey. 649-8151.