1 July 2019

Big Band Scene (July 2019)

    We are now well and truly into the season for outdoor big band performances. With its advantages and its disadvantages. Among the advantages, apart from boosting the band’s vitamin D levels, if lucky, is that of bringing our music to a wider audience and demonstrating the healthy state of the local big band scene. Among the disadvantages are not boosting the band’s vitamin D levels, and having to cope with bitter boisterous winds.

   The Sussex Jazz Orchestra faced such a situation during the so-called Spring Bank Holiday weekend.  Booked to play on the Brighton Birdcage Bandstand, in Hove actually, the conditions were so atrocious the band ended up playing more or less under the bandstand as the photograph shows. As well as that, being a bank holiday weekend, there appeared to be a county-wide shortage of available trumpets. All on holiday, or spending time with the family, or playing at profitable private functions, jazz invites improvisation. So the section consisted of one trumpet and three soprano saxes.  The passing audience was not seen to wince, and were generally appreciative. 

   This month marks the start of the nine week season of the Thursday evening Big Band & Swing Sound concerts on Eastbourne Bandstand.

   Back to indoor events. To the best of my knowledge, at the end of May, the first ever event featuring a conventional seventeen piece big band hosted at The Verdict: The Les Paul Big Band, with Pam Dabell. And from the videos I have seen, their swinging performance was ecstatically received by the sell-out audience.

   In contrast, the June Big Band @Brunswick featuring the Brighton Big Band with Dave Williams attracted an audience that barely outnumbered the band.

   Continuing the appeal for help to find parts for incomplete pads here is another selection. As before, some parts may not be missing at all; the arrangement may be five saxes and five brass and three rhythm section.

September Song – in Eb, (Ted Heath) – Trombone 3

Tuxedo Junction – In Eb, (arr. John Berry) – Piano

Valve Job – In F, Frank Como – Trumpet 1

Wave – In Ab, (arr. Frank Mantooth) – Trumpets 1 & 2, Trombone 4

When A Man Loves A Woman – In Eb, (arr. Roger Holmes) – Alto1, Tenor 2

If you don’t have them as pdf files, or you don’t have access to a scanner, then you can photograph them with a digital camera or mobile phone and send them as a jpg or similar file.  There has already been a positive response, for which grateful thanks.

Next month:  Hopefully another band profile, and more news about big bands based in, or appearing in, the county. If you would like your band featured, and I have not already contacted you, please get in touch.  Anything else, such as gig news, or feedback on this column, that you would like me to include in August’s Big Band Scene, please send it to me by Sunday 14th July.  My email address is g8aac@yahoo.co.uk. 

Photo: courtesy of Wanchang Liang.

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