Jazz/Big Band Feature Film KNIGHTS OF SWING Arrives To Vimeo On Demand

Set in 1947, tracing the challenges, disappointments and successes of six high school boys, and the girls who join them to form a really swingin' big band.

By: Mar. 25, 2022

Jazz/Big Band Feature Film KNIGHTS OF SWING Arrives To Vimeo On Demand

The Knights of Swing, LLC and E3 Music Productions have announced THE MARCH 25 Vimeo On Demand release of 'Knights of Swing,' a feature length film powered by an incredible cast and crew of dreamers and believers.

Set in 1947, tracing the challenges, disappointments and successes of six high school boys, and the girls who join them to form a really swingin' big band.

With the action set in Lynwood, CA (at "Castle High"), the story follows an inclusive group of musicians trying to navigate a world that is still very much entrenched in prejudices and antiquated worldviews. The 1940s was a period of both great turmoil and hope, with The United States having just come out of World War II but the Civil Rights movement still years away.

Through their trials and tribulations, and sense of duty to persevere against all odds, Knights of Swing is a moving portrait that shows music can unite people from different cultures, backgrounds, and races. The hours of dedicated practice and just being together doesn't merely bond them in a unique way, it creates a special world where they find refuge and peace from the aftermath of war and the challenges of the adult world.

Executive Producer Rolland Jacks, who wrote the original story and composed all the music with Emilio Palame, conceived the world from personal experiences as a young man, "It was 1947 in post-war Southern California. I was in a band called the Knights of Swing and wanted to recapture some of the values of the era and beauty and musicality of big band jazz when those big bands were all the rage. The film is based loosely on my own experiences, embellished with a big helping of imagination."

As a child, Jacks played Frank Sinatra in a Junior High musical and has been singing in choirs, quartets and as a soloist ever since. Throughout his teenage years he studied classical piano and also played alto and baritone sax in a big swing band that won the Battle of the Bands.

To direct the action, Jacks enlisted Emilio Palame, a highly-regarded pianist/vocalist, producer and film & TV composer/arranger for 45 years. Palame's resume includes over 50 film & TV credits including Nickelodeon's "Ned's Declassified School Survival Guide," Expelled and Prodigy. On the music front, he's worked with the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra, Paul Williams, Lanie Kazan, Connie Stevens, jazz artists Chuck Mangione and Grant Geissman, and as accompanist/conductor for the incomparable legend Miss Peggy Lee. Also at the helm were co-director David Gutel, who helped write the screenplay with Jacks and Palame, and producer Donald Nguyen, who runs a production company called Reel Big Studios (RB Studios) in Orange County.

By arranging and orchestrating all the music, Palame actually created the band, the Knights of Swing, who's core group includes best friends Gifford Williams (songwriter/vocalist/saxophonist played by Curran Baker) and Nolan Edwards (piano player brought to life by Kyle DeCamp) along with Conrad White (lead trombonist/vocalist played by Jeremy Staple) and their long time friends Elliott (lead trumpeter played by Christopher Pollock), Kenny (bassist played by Brandon Ruiter) and Duke (drummer played by Greg Sadler). Palame plays "Lou Arthur" (or "King Arthur"), the former jazz pianist turned school principal, who helps navigate behind the scenes as political pressures mount.

To bolster the band's sound, the Knights add vocal group The 3 B's, which features Beverly on lead vocals (played by Emily Goglia), Bonnie, the alto (played by Ivana Céspedes Jordan), and Barb, the soprano (played by Olivia Dessy). Together with their Musical Conductor, Mr. Miller, played by actor Richard Neil, known for his work on Veronica Mars, Prodigy and The Bold and The Beautiful, the team of fourteen set out to foster change, one heart, one mind and one battle at a time.

"Knights of Swing is the most important artistic endeavor I have been a part of in my long standing career. The symmetry of working with such talented and dedicated people to tell a story that confronts racism, loss, the consequence of war, yet also shows forgiveness, unconditional love and the power of music to bring people together, is a gift that has touched my heart and I know will reach yours," said Palame.

Co-Director David Gutel concurs, "Knights of Swing at its core is about having a dream and putting in the hard work to make it a reality. Directing this movie along side Emilio Palame was a dream come true for me and i hope that this film inspires people to follow their dreams."

The uplifting, toe-tapping original songs heard throughout the movie are the result of a decades long musical relationship between Jacks and Palame. For over twenty years, these close friends have been collaborating on a canon of heartfelt, spirited and entertaining songs ranging in style from Pop and Gospel to Musical Theater, Jazz and Swing.

Something special really clicked with the film's lead composition, the jazzy bluesy "Schoolroom Blues." It was magic. From there, the defacto theme song, "You've Gotta Have a Dream" and the romantic "Love Is Ours Tonight" were born with the chemistry continuing to click on the infectious "Cucamonga," the melancholic, "No Bright Tomorrows," the shiny luminescence of "Ooh Baby You're Driving Me Crazy," and the climatic closer, "The Victory Stomp." The energy is palpable.

Adding further credibility to the authenticity of the era are the inclusion of the Peggy Lee classic "Things Are Swingin'" in the score and the appearance of 22-time Grammy nominee (and 4-time Grammy winner) Gordon Goodwin in the role of "Mr. Hughes," one of the judges presiding over the grand finale, the California Battle of the Bands. Goodwin is well-known throughout the big band world for his 18-pc ensemble, the Big Phat Band, which returns to the Hollywood Bowl this summer for the inaugural Hollywood Bowl Jazz Fest.

Further bolstering the music, the contributions of esteemed Grammy Award-winning (and 3-time Grammy Nominee) vocal producer/arranger Darlene Koldenhoven (Yanni, Sister Act, Sister Act 2) and renowned drummer/vibraphonist Bob Leatherbarrow (The Simpsons, Natalie Cole, Nelly Furtado), who provided a sublime underscore, were immeasurable, faithfully creating the musical authenticity of the era.

Beginning Friday, March 25, the film, available in 1080p and 4K, will be available for $4.99 for a 48-hour streaming rental via Vimeo on Demand. Closed-captioning available in English, Spanish and Japanese with further languages to be added.

In person and on your screen, it's time to get dancin'. The Knights of Swing are ready to soar!

Knights of Swing Details:

Richard Neil as "Mr. Miller"
Kathy Christopherson as "Marlene"
Emilio Palame as "King Arthur"
Randy Irwin as "Mr. Tanner"
Amanda Lamberti as "Mrs. Barlutski"
Jon Briddell as "Mr. Barlutski"
Jeffrey Conway as "Mr. Simms"
Ian Eugene Ryan as "Sgt. Washington"
Gordon Goodwin as "Mr. Hughes"
Vangie Gunn as "Ms. Brooks"

The Jammin' Pajama Men
Gifford - Songwriter/Vocalist/Sax (played by Curran Baker)
Nolan - Piano Player (played by Kyle DeCamp)
Conrad - Lead Trombone/Vocalist (played by Jeremy Staple)
Elliott - Lead Trumpet (played by Christopher Pollock)
Kenny - Bass (played by Brandon Ruiter)
Duke - Drummer (played by Greg Sadler)

The 3 B's
Beverly - Lead Vocalist (played by Emily Goglia)
Bonnie - Alto Vocalist (played by Ivana Céspedes Jordan)
Barb - Soprano Vocalist (played by Olivia Dessy)

'Knights of Swing' (The Musicians)
Antonia Barton ("Anna") - 3rd & 1st Trumpet
Nicholas Delgado ("Bill") - 2nd Trumpet
Tatiana Tate ("Brenda Davis") - New 3rd Trumpet
Jordan Wainwright ("Sandy") - 2nd Trombone
Jonathan Bryant Sie ("Skelton") - 3rd Trombone
Gail Genuino ("Bobbie") - Alto Sax/Flute
Edgar Guadiana ("Eduardo") - Alto Sax/Flute
Nathan Collins ("Macy") - Tenor Sax
Joshua Escutia ("Luis Contreras") - Tenor Sax
Brian Tran ("Shinji") - Baritone Sax
Kristian de Leon ("Eugene") - Vibes & Percussion
Edison Vilar ("Roger") - Vibes & Percussion

Film Credits:
Created and Produced by Rolland Jacks
Produced and Directed by Emilio Palame
Co-Director: David Gutel
Produced by Donald Nguyen
Screenplay by Rolland Jacks, David Gutel, Emilio Palame
Associate Producers: Richard Neil, Tam Lam
Director of Photography: Brian Lang
Production Design: Neil Cannone
Production Sound: Darren Augustus
Additional Production Sound: Aaron Eberhardt
Sound Design: Michael Keane, Darren Augustus, Wayland Productions
Costume Designers: Tomika Smalls, Kate Bergh
Choreographer: Lee Martino
Edited by Frank Truong, David Gutel, Donald Nguyen and "The Knight Raiders"

Music from the Motion Picture "Knights of Swing"
1. Schoolroom Blues
2. You've Gotta Have A Dream
3. Love Is Ours Tonight
4. Cucamonga
5. Guessin' Game
6. Ooh Baby You're Driving Me Crazy
7. The Dingle Finger
8. Butterfly
9. Bev and Giff's Diner Date
10. Song for Now
11. I'm Falling In Love With You
12. Things Are Swingin'*
13. Scrambled Eggs (Instrumental)
14. Baby Don't Cry Now
15. Wilson High Victory Stomp
16. Battle of the Bands Medley
17. No Bright Tomorrows
18. The Victory Stomp (Instrumental)

Lyrics by Rolland Jacks
Music by Rolland Jacks and Emilio Palame
Music Arranged and Orchestrated by Emilio Palame
Vocal Contractor/Vocal Arrangements by Darlene Koldenhoven
Underscore by Bob Leatherbarrow and E3 Music Productions

*Except for Things Are Swingin' by Jack Marshall and Peggy Lee (Denslow Music Inc, ASCAP; Universal Music Publishing Group)



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