Armand Blais Orchestra Comes To Menifee

Armand Blais is a big band leader, who recently moved to Menifee. He spent the last several decades...

Armand Blais is a big band leader, who recently moved to Menifee. He spent the last several decades in Orange County, where he and his band is still officially based. For years his band was a fixture at the Phoenix Club in Anaheim, and currently they perform at the Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach doing their "Swing by the Sea" on Sundays.

He's known by many as "The Man with the Red Trombone", because his signature instrument is red. Blais says it's not painted red, but is actually the result of a special metallurgical process that makes it turn red.

Armand leads a traditional 18 piece swing orchestra, playing dance music, standards, swing, and jump & jive. They do weddings, private parties, corporate events, conventions, and club dates. Being that he now lives in Menifee, he's ready to serve the Menifee Valley, and places beyond.

Armand Blais Orchestra
It was congestive heart failure that eventually lead him to moving here. On February 28, 2005, he was resting on a boat docked in Huntington Beach, when a tremendous pain struck him in the chest. "It was like Mack Truck had parked on my chest" he mentions. He summoned up enough strength to pull himself over to a neighboring boat, and pounded on the door. A man came out, and called the paramedics.

Doctors performed a six-way heart bypass procedure, and gave him only a 10% chance at survival.

He needed to live in a place with drier climate, but still not too far away from his band mates. And so Menifee it was.

In honor of the doctors and medical staff who saved his life, he dedicated his recent album to them, "Bypass Shuffle - Pumping it Hard", a collection of big band tunes, some of them being original works, and others old standards. The title piece itself, "Bypass Shuffle" is based on his operation, and Blais says that if you listen hard enough, you can hear when doctors got his heart pumping again. There's also, "Without a Dream What the Point of Living", which was inspired by him recouperating in the hospital, realizing that if want something bad enough, you'll make it happen.

You can actually buy his CD online, and hear samples...

You can also watch a video of the band performing Glenn Miller's, "In the Mood" at Long Beach...

This Sunday, October 5, his orchestra will be performing at Trevi Entertainment Center in Lake Elsinore, all afternoon long. Armand also has a group of swing dancers who he says will be there. If you like big band music, you'll want to check it out.