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Hire the Skatch Anderssen Orchestra for your own event!

eMail: EricDregne@SAOrchestra.com Or by phone: (440) 346-5242

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In the tradition of the great large Jazz ensembles of the last half of the 20th century, the Skatch Anderssen Orchestra began carving its own niche into the Northeast Ohio area musical landscape around 1990. Every Monday night, this powerhouse 17-piece big band performs music of Basie, Ellington, Buddy, Thad & Mel, Maynard, Kenton, Woody and many more at the historic Brother's Lounge on West 117th & Detroit in Cleveland, Ohio.

A typical Monday night is anything but at Brother's Lounge! You'll hear some fantastic music that you won't find anywhere else. Each week features a once-in-a-lifetime chance to hear something incredibly special. In 2017, the SAO featured some of the best local area high school jazz ensembles, and visiting guest artists such as Bill Bodine, Tamir Hendleman, Sherry Luchette, Maria Jacobs and more. Special theme nights featuring a Big Band / Latin Jazz fusion ensemble and a night of historic selections by Thad Jones & Mel Lewis in a tribute to the Village Vanguard's 51st anniversary as well as the end-of-the-year "SAO Christmas Extravaganzza!" were among several fan favorites that packed the house. 2018 will feature more exciting theme nights to remember, so plan on making Monday nights your favorite night out!

Bandleaders Eric Dregne and Scott McKee's intention is to enlist the finest musicians for the SAO to guarantee you will hear a high-powered, high quality performance of many of the tunes you know (and some you may not but are sure to enjoy). With the mindset of playing a wide array of music and featuring the best possible musicians around, the SAO has gained a steady following in Cleveland and surrounding areas. Not content with playing only the standards of the big band golden era, the SAO features many compositions of local composers and arrangers along with more recent popular artists such as Gordon Goodwin and Alan Baylock.

The SAO has played weddings, private parties and benefits, and was a featured ensemble in performances at Cleveland State University and Playhouse Square's Summer Series. The SAO has also served behind many local area favorites like Rick and Sharona, featuring show style performances reminiscent of days when Frank Sinatra performed with The Count Basie Orchestra at The Sands Hotel in Las Vegas.

The Skatch Anderssen Orchestra is available for club dates, weddings, society and formal engagements, swing dances, outdoor performances and special events. A scaled down 6-piece version of the group is available for more intimate settings. For society jobs, the SAO will play the the swingin’ arrangements of familiar Jazz Standards that people love to hear & dance to.

The vision for this group is to appeal to as many people as possible and the library of the band exemplifies that. With a wealth of influences ranging from artists such as Thad Jones/Mel Lewis (now known as The Vanguard Jazz Orchestra), Maynard Ferguson, Buddy Rich, Woody Herman, Gordon Goodwin, Count Basie and Duke Ellington, the eclectic nature comes out in each SAO performance.

Many of the members of The Skatch Anderssen Orchestra also perform with other local bands.

About Eric Dregne, Bandleader

Eric Dregne has been a Northeast Ohio musician for over 30 years. After attending Youngstown State University's Dana School of Music, he became an established leader in big band, Jazz and Latin music as a bass and tenor trombonist, arranger, bandleader and educator - a true "Jazz Ambassador". His eclectic resume includes Jazz groups, Latin bands, R&B outfits and even some rockers, including Aretha Franklin, Tommy Tune, the Four Tops, Frankie Valli, Nancy Wilson and others. Eric's low-brass bass trombone sound has been woven into the music over many local area bands. He's an avid performer with a true love of all things trombone, and a master of varied musical styles. As such, you are likely to run into Eric quite often as a guest artist during live Latin and Jazz performances in the greater Cleveland area.

About Scott McKee, Bandleader

Scott McKee is a seventh-generation Cleveland musician who began his trumpet career at age 5, playing at church with his father Jack. At age 19, he played and recorded with Aretha Franklin in a performance that led to others with renowned bands. Scott received his undergraduate degree in Trumpet Performance from Cleveland State University. He recently returned to Cleveland after attending grad school at the University of Colorado in Boulder (Jazz Trumpet). Scott can be seen all over the Cleveland area, backing up major artists and off-broadway musicals as their shows run through town, and featured on many big band and salsa gigs.

Follow Us! Check out our calendar on the right to see when and where our next gig will be.

About Olaf "Skatch" Anderssen

Born in a small town in Norway, Olaf Anderssen had a passion for music and sound. As a child, he would drive us all crazy with the constant whistling and pounding on everything in sight. As he got older, he dreamed of becoming a drummer in a couple of local bands that frequented through the area. He would stay up late into the night, drumming on anything in the barn he could find until very late hours. Mother and Father gave up getting him to bed when they realized he seemed to never need to sleep.

By the middle part of the 20th century, Olaf had become an accomplished "Tusselfloyte" (Norwegian flute) player, but still played percussion instruments with passion long into the night. His wife gave him an ultimatum: either settle down and give up music, or get a divorce. Alone and penniless at age 27, Olaf left his native land and made his way to the New England area of the United States.

In fits of depression, he frequented a town bar in Massachusetts on the corner of the street he was living on. There, he was introduced to Scotch Whiskey. Because of the strong accent of the people in the area, Olaf learned the word as "Skatch" instead of "Scotch". Since the locals were fond of nicknames, his became "Skatch" since he said the word so often.

One fateful night, Skatch stumbled into a new bar and heard a group playing swing music. He immediately fell in love with the music and asked if he could sit in and play. When they heard about his musical background in Norway, the guys in the band eagerly gave him a seat. Skatch started to play and was awful. Everyone in the bar turned around and stared at him in stunned silence. Sheepishly, Skatch returned to his seat and ordered another Scotch. How he wished he could play like those cats!

Skatch was nothing if not determined. He visited the bar every week and listened to the greatest music he had ever heard in his life. Afterward, he would spend the week practicing what he heard on his street corner. As time went by, he decided he was going to start a band like that of Count Basie and Duke Ellington. He assembled the best local jazz players he could find and worked on creating his own jazz orchestra. Thus, the Skatch Anderssen Orchestra was born.

Skatch had booked his first gig in a local hall in the New England town where he lived. All of the townspeople eagerly awaited the show, which was completely sold out in advance. But on the weekend before the first performance, tragedy struck. He had been talked into flying back to Norway for a quick family get-together. While on that flight, the weather became very bad. Skatch's plane crashed into the ocean, and the band never played.

We now keep the dream alive of a man that put together a band that no one heard: the Skatch Anderssen Orchestra.

For more information, e-mail: Eric Dregne

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