a brief history

The Outcasts are 17 members strong, sporting 5 saxophones, 4 trombones, 4 trumpets, a full rhythm section, as well as several vocalists. We concentrate on the classic big band sounds of the 30's, 40's and 50's, but we also throw in a smattering of anyone from Van Morrison to Paul Simon to Ray Charles.

The Outcast Jazz Band was founded in the Summer of 1981 by the late Gilbert "Smokey" Robinson. The original OJB (actually Gilbert's Social Outcast Band) was comprised of ten kids ranging in ages from 13 to 17, and was put together solely for the purpose of entertaining at the St. Margaret of Scotland Summer Day Camp. What began as a summer diversion blossomed almost immediately, and we soon found ourselves playing in a seedy bar on West 111th St. Whenever a fight would break out, we had to hustle everything out the back alley entrance, because how do you explain high school kids in a bar at midnight on a Saturday? Within a year, we had doubled our repertoire and our personnel.

Since that fateful summer so long ago, we have been swingin' our way through some of the most prestigious ballrooms and events in the Chicagoland Area.

Why "The Outcasts"? Our most often asked question, next to "Do you do any Snoop Dog?". No - drop it like its hot. What else would you have called 16 year olds who form a 40's era swing band in 1981? The name says it all, even today. We are not your average big band. It is our mission in life to have a good time, and that goal sets us apart from even the best big bands. Sure, Harry Connick, Jr. has a great band, but do his trombones play "In The Mood" while traveling up and down the escalators at the Evergreen Plaza? We don't think so. Yes, we take certain liberties, but that's what makes it fun for us, and unforgettable for our audience.

Using us at your next function could be the best decision you'll make this year. Or not.