Count Basie. Glenn Miller. Stan Kenton. Benny Goodman. “Some of the great bands of the 40s, 50s and 60s,” noted Ken Prettyman.

Those are the influences behind the Somerset Big Band, the outfit Prettyman directs — whose musicians have dedicated themselves to bringing a classic American sound out of the mists of time and back to vibrant life in rural Kentucky.

The Somerset Big Band’s talents will be on full display tonight at Somerset Community College for “BBQ With the Big Band,” a concert offering both food and a variety of musical entertainment options headlined by Prettyman’s group. Gates open at 6 p.m., dinner from Serendipity at the Orange Door begins at 7:15 p.m. and the music starts at 7:30 p.m. Tickets that include the meal are no longer available, but tickets for lawn seating for the concert are $20 for an adult, $10 for a child.

Prettyman — his posture straight and demeanor focused, displaying the discipline of a true lifelong musician — is a transplant from Kirkland, Wash., where he taught at Northwest University for 14 years. There, as an associate professor of jazz performance, Prettyman oversaw both vocal and instrumental jazz ensembles, including a 12-piece vocal group called Synergy and a four-piece rhythm section.

“We competed in different jazz competitions like the Lionel Hampton Jazz Festival,” said Prettyman. “Vocal jazz in general is huge out in that area, so I had an outstanding group.”

Somerset, Ky., on the other hand, is not a hotbed of jazz music. So it might have seemed like those days were behind Prettyman and his wife Carol when they moved to this area about three years ago in retirement.

“We really knew nothing about (Somerset),” said Prettyman. “We moved here to be close to our grandchildren, who live near Indianapolis. We wanted to be on a lake, and found Lake Cumberland. We just loved the area and enjoyed the community and the people.”

While all that was attractive to Prettyman, one opportunity the move didn’t seem to allow was participation in a jazz group, which is something Prettyman had known for most of his 70 years.

“I’ve had a love for it since I was in high school,” he said. “I played in a college jazz band when I was going to school and have had the opportunity to know some professional jazz players in the Los Angeles and Orange County area. Some are very dear friends. I’ve had an association with jazz bands all my life.”

The earliest recordings that got Prettyman hooked were those of Count Basie, the New Jersey-born bandleader known as a wizard on the piano keys. Basie became one of the giants of the jazz orchestra scene in the 1930s, and kept his group going for nearly half a century, innovating techniques and creating unforgettable music both as a performer and composer.

“I really patterned a lot of my technique that I ask the players (as in the Somerset Big Band) to do after the great Basie band,” said Prettyman.

Like a bloodhound sniffing out the trail of something fascinating, it didn’t take Prettyman long once here to find the people like him. He joined the Somerset Brass ensemble, another group that tends to play more traditional symphonic music than jazz, but it was a perfectly fine musical fix for Prettyman.

“I met some people who were quite alive in the music scene here,” he said. “It was in (the Somerset Brass) setting that I met some people who had tremendous interest in developing a full-size jazz band.”

Thus, “out of a conversation” was the Somerset Big Band formed, in June of 2016. The band has performed multiple times since then, getting their footing as an ensemble and gaining exposure, and draws players from a four-county surrounding area. The symphonic jazz band features 19 members, with five saxophones, four trombones, six trumpets, and a full rhythm section.

Additionally, Prettyman’s wife Carol will do solo vocal pieces with the band.

Prettyman looks forward to showing the community what the Somerset Big Band is all about at tonight’s concert, which will also feature the Somerset High School Jazz Ensemble and Southwestern High School Jazz Ensemble along with McNeil Music Center’s Maria McNeil as a vocalist.

Tickets may purchased by calling 606-424-1641 or by online at www.artful.ly/store/events/12743. Walk-ups will come in by the flagpoles at the college, and are encouraged to bring a chair or blanket for lawn seating.

“BBQ With the Big Band” is presented by Watershed Arts Alliance, and sponsored in part by Forcht Broadcasting and the Commonwealth Journal.

Said Prettyman of the opportunity to perform, “It’s a tremendous delight.”