Brian Setzer: Big Band Blitz : World Cafe Brian Setzer got his start in the '80s rockabilly band Stray Cats with hits like "Rock This Town" and "Stray Cat Strut." From the '90s until now, his main gig has been with his 17-piece big band, with six albums and Grammy Awards in tow. Hear an interview and performance from WXPN.

Brian Setzer: Big Band Blitz

Brian Setzer: Big Band Blitz

  • Download
  • <iframe src="" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

Set List

  • "Take a Break Guys"
  • "Dig That Crazy Santa"
  • "One More Night with You"
  • "Take the 5th"
  • "Honey Man"

Brian Setzer Orchestra. Courtesy of Surfdog Records hide caption

toggle caption
Courtesy of Surfdog Records

Raised on Long Island, Brian Setzer initially took his inspiration from blues-rock bands, but spent a considerable amount of time as a teenager in jazz clubs around New York City. By the 1980s, Setzer fronted the rockabilly band Stray Cats. The group hit its stride in the U.S. in the early '80s, with Top 10 hits such as "Rock This Town" and "Stray Cat Strut."

By the '90s, Stray Cats had disbanded, and Setzer formed a 17-piece big band in Los Angeles that would later become The Brian Setzer Orchestra, helping to lead a comeback of big-band swing music in the U.S. The group has since released six albums and two live DVDs, as well as a commercially successful take on Louis Prima's "Jump, Jive an' Wail," a song initially recorded in the '50s.

Since 2000, Setzer has won three Grammy Awards, as well as his seventh Grammy nomination in 2006, for his version of "My Favorite Things." Setzer's latest album, Wolfgang's Big Night Out, features the Orchestra's take on classical symphonies from Tchaikovsky and Offenbach, among others.