Swing City Zurich
23 June - 30 June 2001
Short Event Report by Jill Benz
Opening Party 22 June 2001
The opening party for this one-time international swing festival, took place in the buildings of Zurich main train station. The bands: George Gee and his make believe Ballroom Orchestra and the Count Bassie Big Band - both from New York. Although the setting looked promising the acoustics were poor. As it was free entrance the place was over-crowded. For our tastes both bands, although excellent, played a little to much modern swing and not enough authentic original 40’s sounds.

Lindyhop Workshops
These took place during the day, every day. I am not a workshop goer but I did hear positive remarks from others regarding the quality and organisation etc. 

Lindy show

The main events took place in the Gessnerallee. This once-over equestrian indoor arena had been transformed in to a dance hall / ballroom. The setting was absolutely perfect for a swing festival. I spent 5 evenings in the Gessnerallee and enjoyed every one immensely.

Each band that I saw during the swing city week was in my opinion, highly professional with excellent musicians and gave a high quality performance. My taste is not everyone’s but here are my own comments to some of the bands that I saw myself:

The Swing Gates (Switzerland): 
Authentic sound playing old-style traditional swing. Singers Astrid and Thomas not only sounded great, but also certainly added style to the band in their classy original attire giving the band more stage presence. A few more swing dance numbers would have been appreciated.

Del Sasso and the Rossos: Certainly excellent musicians and performers but too many modern jazz numbers for my taste (particularly the second set).

Jennz Löbel and the Swing Kings (Sweden): Good swinging sounds. I loved Jenny’s renditions of the old jazz standards.

George Gee and his Jump Jive and Wailers(New York): George Gee has great stage presence and personality. When the band played original style swing classics they were fantastic - pity they had to play so much modern swing and jazz though.

The DJ’s: Again for my taste too much modern swing was played, too many new versions - not enough of the old originals - shame. 

My special thanks to the organisers of this event - and the wonderfully helpful bar staff and door staff at the Gessnerallee.

During the week there was a showing of soundies in a local cinema - some really great clips were shown. 
I missed the Palast Orchester but was told that Max Raabe was excellent.

Disappointing that this event was not better supported. Everyone I know seems to complain that there’s nowhere to go and when there is they don’t bother!!!

Now for a few photos from the week of “Swing city’ : Photos thanks to Roly, Rolf, Hugo, Gabi, Brigitte, Astrid, Thomas, Jens.