The Shanghai Woolies play “hot music,” 1920’s and 30’s jazz and pop of Chicago and New York City. The eight-piece ensemble, created by Pink Martini trumpeter Gavin Bondy, swims in the romance of Louis Armstrong, the mystery of Duke Ellington, the whimsy of Paul Whiteman, and the swing of Benny Goodman. They use a respectful, slightly unorthodox approach, inspired by the colorful liberation of the original.
In the winter of ’99, Gavin began birthing a new band that would include some of his favorite musician/friends. Early on, they booked prestigious shows for the Washington Park Rose Garden Amphitheater and Cycle Oregon, and quickly became favorites at Portland night clubs and ballrooms.
In 2004, the band released their debut CD, Jungle Nights, to an enthusiastic house at the Aladdin Theater in Portland, Oregon. When National Public Radio put the third track, “Concerto for Trumpet” (written by Harry James) on their Open Mic website, it received one of the very highest public ratings ever.
The Woolies have continued to play an extremely wide variety of shows, with “….a new twist on the music of the flapper era: Jitterbug music, Big band, Swing. The raucous, slippery, foot-happy jazz you’d expect to hear at the legendary Cotton Club. … hard to resist …” -The Oregonian