Saturday night's Boston Pops concert at Wolf Trap, devoted to the music of the swing era, was as much about the visual as it was about the aural. Under the ebullient and sophisticated direction of Keith Lockhart, the orchestra--sounding alternately like the biggest big band in town and the lushest of Hollywood studio ensembles--joined forces with seven rubber-limbed dancers known collectively as the Jivin' Lindy Hoppers to summon up an era and a style that is undergoing something of a revival.
The syncopated, cheeky rhythms and sinuous melodic lines of Duke Ellington, Count Basie, Hoagy Carmichael, Cole Porter and other jazz masters were telegraphed by means of the brilliant brass and woodwind sections, the gorgeously syrupy string players and taut percussionists. But so too were they brought to life by the dancers' shimmying shoulders and undulating hips, Lockhart's curlicuing arms and twitching backside, and the swaying and spontaneous singing of two stand partners in the violin section. At one point the bass players even twirled blithely about their massive instruments.
There wasn't a dud in the bunch, but highlights of the repertoire included a half-Mussorgskian, half-swingin' arrangement of Ellington's classic "Caravan"; a Harry James tribute featuring stellar trumpeter Vince DiMartino; an acute, atmospheric rendering of Leonard Bernstein's "On the Town" suite; and a no-holds-barred mix of unhinged movement and music in a finale that included current favorites "Zoot Suit Riot" and "Jump, Jive an' Wail."