Arts & Culture
10:56 am
Fri May 9, 2014

Jump-Swing Band, The King Comets, is Red Hot

Steve Braun, Michael Fricke, John Steffes, and Dennis Tomashek are The King Comets.
Credit King Comets-Milwaukee, facebook
WUWM@Nite's Eleanor Peterson speaks with The King Comets.

Does your family have a stack of records that are not being played? Do any of those records at the rummage sale look intriguing? Many songs performed by the jump swing group, the King Comets, explored those records and now entertain swing dancers in Milwaukee from the songs they learned.

The King Comets are made up of Steve Braun, Michael Fricke, John Steffes, and Dennis Tomashek. They like the smaller number of musicians because they are more cohesive and they can hear each other better.

They based their band instrumentation on jump swing, a form of swing from World War II. It was harder for bands to have full instrumentation (thirty-piece band) during the war since many musicians were drafted. Restaurants found it easier to hire bands that had seven or fewer.

The King Comets have an expansive repertoire. They perform covers of songs from Louis Prima to Eddie Cochran to the Eurhythmics as well as performing their own works. What really inspires them is when they listen to 45s of well-known songs and forgotten tunes. If they like a song, they will learn it and play it. It becomes hard to determine at times if the song is an original or a cover. Regardless, they put their own special touch on it.

Milwaukee-based band, The King Comets, recently released their second CD, Pull That String.