ONE BIG BAND, led by Chester Whitmore, is an 18-piece orchestra recreating the hot Big
Band and jazz sounds from the 1920s to the 1940s. Their material includes many popular
tunes from the Cotton Club and the Savoy Ballroom, with musical sources such as Duke
Ellington, Jimmy Lunceford, Count Basie, Chick Webb and Cab Calloway.
Like their idols from the old swing era, this is not a sedate, nice dinner crowd Big Band. Opus One does not make appearances dripping with sentimental grease and political correctness --Opus One is unleashed! Known for a usually, shall we say -- flamboyant, stage show, these musicians will play wild solos, compete for your attention, prance around on stage, parade on the dance floor -- and, on occasion, even place their leader in a guillotine.
|Dancing since 1974, Chester
Whitmore originally studied to be a cinematographer. An encounter with famed tap
dancer Fayard Nicholas changed his life. Eventually, Mr. Nicholas became his teacher and
Mr. Whitmore has been jumping ever since. Lately, he has been traveling around the world on tour as dancer, teacher, choreographer, director and entertainer. He and his dance company, Black Ballet Jazz, have performed with the Lionel Hampton Orchestra, the Duke Ellington Orchestra under the direction of Mercer Ellington, the Count Basie Orchestra under the direction of Frank Foster and the great Miles Davis.
summer of 1999 sent him touring through Canada and Europe with the Smithsonian Masterworks
Jazz Orchestra in a tribute to Duke Ellington.
Chester Whitmore's choreography can be seen in music videos by Weird Al Yankovic, Tina Marie, Boys 2 Men, and most recently, Sugar Ray.
The NAACP Image Awards (1989-1994), Soul of American Music, and Stellar Awards (Gospel Music Awards) show Mr. Whitmores versatility in choreographing for diverse groups, such as the Nicholas Brothers with Savion Glover, M.C. Hammer, Lavert, Bebe and Cece Winans, Vickie Winans and dance tributes to Dick Clark and The Artist (formerly known as Prince).
Teaching assignments included Herrang (Sweden), and dance performances, Salzburg (Austria), the San Francisco Jazz Festival (1997), the Monterey Jazz Festival (1996), performing with veteran jazz greats Jon Hendricks and Joe Williams.
Mr. Whitmore is actively involved in projects reaching young people through Los Angeles Cultural Affairs events as performer or as teacher for the Parks and Recreation Division, African Marketplace, and in schools and universities throughout the U.S.
Chester Whitmore has taught almost everyone who has made a name in the swing scene.