The Portland Symphony Orchestra took advantage of a chance to swing Saturday night as they welcomed The Jazz Ambassadors of the U.S. Army Field Band for a very lively PSO Pops! concert.

The smartly uniformed, 19-member military band, embedded to the right of PSO Assistant Conductor Andrew Crust, offered a selection of pieces from what many consider the golden age of jazz. Compositions by or associated with Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington, Count Basie and Billie Holiday figured prominently.

A medley called simply “Satchmo” established some roots in early jazz polyphony with a round of overlapping trumpet, clarinet and trombone solos. The band’s take on Ellington’s “C-Jam Blues” revealed a momentum built on sectional interplay. By the time Basie’s “Jumpin’ at the Woodside” came around, a coordinated barrage of solos from five saxophonists took things to another level, with the symphony adding imposing heft to the sound.

“The Cooker” had Dustin Mollick’s baritone sax playing in unison with Jonathan Epley’s guitar, and “Feeling Good” gave Master Sgt. Marva Lewis her first chance to display her considerable vocal skills.

Lewis also took charge on the Holiday medley “Lady Day,” bringing out the legendary singer’s bluesy feel while filling the auditorium with her own star power.

Veterans in the audience were acknowledged during the “Armed Forces Salute,” a medley of the songs representing each service branch.

To open the program, Crust led the symphony in a selection of jazz-related works.

The PSO hit all the high points as it visited George Gershwin’s “An American in Paris.” And while it might have been nice to hear Lewis’ take on “Summertime,” the piece nonetheless developed a lushness that, like the season in Maine, seemed over too soon.

Joe Foley added a plaintive flugelhorn solo to “We’ll Be Together Again,” and the percussion section got a workout on the period exoticism of Gershwin’s “Cuban Overture.” Catchy rhythms also flavored all the familiar themes within Leonard Bernstein’s “West Side Story Selections for Orchestra.”

The pounded-out rave of “Sing, Sing, Sing” was a rousing closer to the first part of the show and proved early on that the PSO came ready to enlist in the fun.

Steve Feeney is a freelance writer who lives in Portland.