The sun didn't set on Disneyland's summer season in the good old pre-Resort days until the last notes had faded from the Plaza Gardens stage. What a world-class venue that red-and-white-striped setting was for Big Band sounds!
That stage was all about entertainment from another time. A free trip back to the Big Band era with some of the most legendary performers ever seen. Since the beginning, Disneyland had used the space just off the Central Plaza to spotlight jazz greats like Benny Goodman, Count Basie, and Artie Shaw. The tradition continued through the 80s, when groups like the Toshiko Akiyoshi/Lew Tabackin Big Band, Harry James and his Orchestra, and Les Brown and his Band of Renown made Plaza Gardens their summer home.
I remember looking forward to a fine day at work when I flashed my yellow ID card at Harbor House and noticed a bunch of names signed in as being with "Aki/Tab" or one of the other bands. It happened just about every night during the summer back then. You don't hear that music jazzing up the hub any longer, but we can pretend we're there (and we'll have to since I couldn't find any video from the actual stage).
Come back to those Anaheim summer nights when the Magic Kingdom was all that jazz and imagine we're sending Summer 2010 off in classic Disneyland style. Here's our lineup:
Count Basie Orchestra
Les Brown and His Band of Renown
Toshiko Akiyoshi/Lew Tabackin Big Band
Harry James and his Orchestra
Glenn Miller Orchestra
Now bop on down Main Street, because Disneyland has now ended its normal operating day. Please drive carefully on your way home—even as you tap your feet.