Charlie Rosen’s The 8-Bit Big Band Returns to Berklee Performance Center
on Sunday, March 1st for TWO SHOWS!
The 33-member jazz/pops orchestra will feature jazz phenom Grace Kelly and viral sensation Leo P as soloists and The Insaneintherain Big Band as opening act
Berklee Performance Center: 136 Mass Ave Boston, MA 02215
The 8-Bit Big Band is back! This March, the highly acclaimed 8-Bit Big Band will make a gallant return to Boston for two shows at Berklee Performance Center on Sunday, March 1st. Under the direction of the 29-year old multi-talented bandleader, Broadway and television composer Charlie Rosen, this 33-piece ensemble will present Rosen’s original “big band” arrangements of some of the world’s most popular video game music. Viral phenoms Grace Kelly and Leo P will join as special guests and Carlos Eiene aka Insaneintherain, will be debuting The Insaneintherain Big Band as the opening act. The matinee begins at 2pm and the evening show at 7:30. Buy tickets here.
Recently featured in Forbes Magazine, the 8-Bit Big Band is redefining the concept of the modern big band. Comprised of 33 top musicians (many of which are gamers who like to play games to earn gift cards themselves), Rosen’s extraordinary endeavor celebrates the breadth and richness of music from globally sensational video game franchises like Super Mario Brothers, the Legend of Zelda, Final Fantasy, Pokemon, and more in a way that is spellbinding. They have consistently sold out shows across the United States; most recently, at New York City’s Sony Hall this past January. In October, the 8 Bit Big Band made their first appearance in Boston at the Berklee Performance Center and filled every seat.
Since its inception, the 8-Big Band has become a viral sensation. Their fully produced music videos, regularly uploaded to their YouTube channel, rack up tens to hundreds of thousands of views. Currently, the channel boasts nearly 80,000 subscribers and has garnered over 3M cumulative views in the past year. In May of 2018, the 8-Bit Big Band released its first album, Press Start!, which features the music of the Super Mario series, the Legend of Zelda series, Ganbare Goemon, F-Zero, and Final Fantasy. In June 2019, the band released its second album Choose Your Character, which includes music from Donkey Kong Country, Duck Tales, Sonic The Hedgehog, Pokemon, Portal and more from Super Mario Series, The Legend of Zelda and Tetris.
“As a lifelong gamer who also grew up listening to the best in orchestral and big band music, I see the music of many video games as musically equivalent to other great works of music set to media such as film scores and broadway shows. Many carry the same quality of melody and composition when it comes to quality, scope, and emotional appeal for audiences. The crowd reaction when we play our versions of themes from favorites such as Mario, Tetris, and Legend of Zelda is overwhelming, not just because it’s amazing music on its own, but also because of the strong memories and nostalgia evoked in an audience that played these games throughout childhood. I truly believe that video game music deserves to be included in a ‘New American Songbook,’ just like classic film and Broadway music has been canonized by the Golden Age American Songbook,” Rosen says.
Jazz and video games have more in common than one might think! In September of last year, the soundtrack to the classic video game Cuphead shot to the top of the Billboard Jazz Chart. Games like L.A. Noir, Sam & Max, Fallout 3, and even Grand Theft Auto have featured jazz on their soundtracks or infused it in gameplay. With 1.2 billion gamers in the world, it is mind boggling to consider how many people become exposed to jazz through gaming. This phenomena becomes apparent at the 8-Bit Big Band’s packed live shows which boast a fully engaged, excited beyond measure audience that ranges in age, gender and demographic.
While video gaming has traditionally been seen as a niche hobby, the Entertainment Software Association (ESA) reports that 65 percent of American adults played video games in 2018, with 40 percent of all American gamers in the coveted 18 to 35-year-old demographic. The Boston area itself is a hotspot for game development and enthusiasm, with organizations like the MIT Game Lab and Harmonix Music Systems (creator of bestsellers Rock Band and Dance Central) leading the scene. Boston is also an international hub of top-caliber music training and performance, creating the perfect storm for the 8-Bit Big Band’s blend of large-ensemble musicianship, innovative arrangements, and passion for video game culture. In addition, Boston is home to the PAX East Annual Gaming convention which attracts more then 50,000 people over the course of four days. The rousing success of the 8-Bit Big Band’s previous performances, and the high engagement rate on their many YouTube videos, demonstrates that video games can indeed be a gateway into jazz and has potential to seriously expand its audience.
ABOUT THE 8 Bit Big Band:
The 8-Bit Big Band is a 33-member jazz/pops orchestra formed by Charlie Rosen to celebrate and realize some of the best musical themes of various video games from a multitude of consoles and eras. The members of the 8-Bit Big Band come from all around the world, with most residing primarily in New York City, and are some of the most highly sought-after musicians and performers internationally. Many are all gamers at heart who enjoy playing many of the titles whose music they performed.