Jeff Coon heats up his Summer Club for special big-band show

Jeff Coon heats up his Summer Club for special big-band show

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Fans of big-band music will have a reason to venture out next week when out Philadelphia theater star and singer Jeff Coon and his Summer Club swing into action for a special 17-piece big-band orchestra performance Dec. 5 in Manayunk. The show will feature appearances from other Philly area singers, including Ben Dibble, JP Dunphy, Fran Prisco, Kenita Miller and Michael Philip O’Brien.

Coon said the idea of the show is for people to get dressed up and enjoy an evening of entertainment from a bygone era.

“This is not a show that we could ever do eight times a week because it is an event,” he said. “It’s 17 pieces and we’re trying to keep it that way. We’re trying to make sure that people can come and have a special evening that you don’t get anymore. There is an audience for it.”

The focus will be on the music, as Coon noted the intimate performance space in Manayunk doesn’t leave room for dancing.

“Our summer shows had a specific instrumental just for dance,” he said. “But this particular show is more a nightclub show than a concert with room for the attendees to get up and cut the rug. This show is going to be just singing, although in the past we’ve had a comic come and do a 10-minute set. My concept when we started this in 2014 is we wanted it to be a cross between a [Frank] Sinatra concert at the Sands and The Ed Sullivan Show. Because we are trying to scale it down a little bit just to make sure we don’t break the bank, we decided we’re going to do the band.”

Coon added that the audience will hopefully include people who lived through the heyday of big-band music as well as younger audiences and those exposed to the music through the ska/swing revival of the 1990s.       

“What we want to do ideally is cater to people who grew up with this music,” he said. “At this point, I’m 45. I consider myself one of those people. But I want to also expose younger generations to it as well. The thing that I find most rewarding about it is the fact that a lot of musicians that play with us have played with the Count Basie Orchestra. They’ve played with people who are way beyond our pay grade. But they don’t get a chance to do it anymore because it’s expensive to do a show like this. One of the things I love is the ability to bring this kind of music back to people who have not been exposed to it before.”

Jeff Coon’s Summer Club performs 8 p.m. Dec. 5 at Venice Island Performing Arts Center, 7 Lock St. For more information, visit or


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