Big Band Classics

Thursday, 7 November 2019 17:38

The Autumn Concert is so often the most popular gig of the year for Fairlop.Not sure why, perhaps it is that in the summer, so many of the audience are laying on beaches in the sun somewhere, or perhaps it is the thought of sitting in the warm listening to a Brass Band is most appealing on Autumn nights. Not sure, but the temporary home for the concert at Theydon Village Hall was chock full of people to listen to the band play some Big Band and Swing classics.

The Concert started wth the triumphant ‘St Louis Blues’ which definitely unblocked any hearing issues the audience may have had! The Band was set up on the floor of the hall using Rostrum Blocks (a full concert band does not fit on the village hall stage unfortunately) so having the band so close made the sound hit the audience like a wall. I should note here that the effect was very positive and that whilst I felt for the players being so exposed (every minutiae of the music could be heard) it was like being in a studio with the band and I thoroughly enjoyed the experience.

The Duke Ellington classic 'Mood Indigo' followed before the first of the evening’s solos ‘Georgia on my Mind’ played on the Tenor Horn by the brilliant AlanPoultney.

Next came ‘Lil Darlin’ which was my favourite of the concert. I cannot hear the Band play this number without getting goosebumps.

‘Hot Toddy’ tested the Band’s clicking fingers (I thought they did ratherwell), before the Band’s very own Linda Barber's composition ‘It’s a SwingThing’, which I thought was an incredible piece of music showcasing Linda’s obvious talents. She managed to get three standards (Sing Sing Sing', 'King of the Swingers' and 'It Don’t Mean a Thing’) all to be played consecutively whilst maintaining a strong melody and a strong Swing feel. Superb talent and we are so lucky to have her. It is unique music like this that makes going to a ‘live’concert so worthwhile. You cannot buy experiences like this without attending a Fairlop Concert.

Kevin then awarded the Dennis Carney ‘Most Improved Player of the Year’award to the most deserving Morgan Barber (Eb Bass). Well done Morgan!

I was then shocked into speechlessness by Kevin awarding me the Holly Miller ‘Spirit of Fairlop’ Award (see my previous blog - Open Letter of Thanks).

The first half ended with the Robbie Williams ‘Swing While You’re Winning’ compilation of classics revived by Robbie for that bestselling album.

The Band then took a quick but well-deserved breather.

The second half opened with the Gershwin classic ‘I Got Rhythm’, before the second of the Band’s ‘solo’ pieces ‘King of the Road’ played on the Eb Bass by the multi-talented Cliff Murray to much nodding of heads and mouthed accompaniment from the appreciative audience. Superb.

Next Kevin slowed the pace down and introduced another new piece for the Band - The Mansions of the Lord; a haunting tribute of remembrance to those whohave given their lives for our Country. The Bugle solo of the ‘Last Post’ played so superbly by Steve Smith integrated into the music wonderfully. There were not many dry eyes in the hall at the close of the piece. A fitting piece given the closeness of the concert to Remembrance Day.

Continuing on the ‘war’ theme came the Glenn Miller classic ‘Moonlight Serenade’ to ease us back into the concert theme of Big Band Classics. Skyliner came next followed by the classic ‘Salute to Sinatra’ where the audience could play a game of ‘name that tune’. A rapt applause meant that Kevin did the right thing of playing ‘just one more’ and of course the classic party piece ‘NewYork, New York’ did the trick of sending us all home very happy indeed.