For this St George’s Day special the Jazz Repertory Company turns its attention to home-grown talent (and several musicians from overseas who made their names here).
In the first half we are in the grand hotels and dance halls of pre-war England. In the second half we feature some of the uniquely British sounds of the 1950s, ’60s and ’70s.
Pete Long and his Big Band will be joined by an array of special guests including Chris Dean, leader and featured singer with the Syd Lawrence Orchestra, performing songs by Matt Monro, and Thomas “Spats” Langham as crooner Al Bowlly, including the version of Shakespeare’s It Was A Lover and his Lass recorded with the West Indian bandleader “Snakehips” Johnson.
From the great pre-war days of the British Dance Bands we’ll be featuring the music of Fred Elizalde, Ray Noble, Harry Roy and Jack Hylton and a brief salute to Britain’s biggest star of the 1930s: George Formby. The war years are represented by music from the Squadronaires and Lita Rosa with Ted Heath (we also have Ted Heath’s big hits from the ’50s Hot Toddy and Swinging Shepherd Blues in our programme).
One of the greatest jazz musicians to emerge from the UK was the brilliant saxophonist Tubby Hayes and his dynamic big band music shares the limelight with work by two giants of British music: Stan Tracey and John Dankworth. We conclude with a tribute to Bill Ashton’s National Youth Jazz Orchestra, an organisation that ensures the continuing flourishing of British Big Band music.
Come and join us at this celebration with old favourites and hidden treasures all performed superbly by the great musicians of the Jazz Repertory Company.