Big Band Scene (March 2017)

This month Patrick Billingham looks at the Big Band @ The Brunswick series and profiles The Sussex All-Stars Big Band

 

    It has been a good start to the year from the big band point of view.  There was a most enjoyable performance by Terry Pack’s Trees in the South Coast Jazz Festival.  Their repertoire has expanded since I had last heard this magnificent band. Also there was more amplification of the voices.  To my ears an improvement to the overall texture of their sound.

The 2017 Big Band @Brunswick programme got off to a flying start with a capacity crowd there to support Straight No Chaser, who played with their usual precision and panache. The first set consisted of familiar mainstream charts. The second set was Simon D’Souza’s Navigation Suite, a witty look at the history of jazz. The eponymous tune, starting with rhythmic clapping, reflected the influence of Steve Reich.

    If the Big Band @Brunswick is to continue as a show place for local big bands, it is important to keep it well supported.  So I hope you will join me at the Brunswick for Big Band Sounds’ debut appearance in this series.

Now a band profile.

 

The Sussex All-Stars Big Band:

The Sussex All-Stars Big Band is one of the newer bands in Sussex and was originally formed in 2015 by Eastbourne saxophonist Peter Blackmore for a one-off performance at his 50th birthday party. The musicians were all friends from bands that he has played in over the last 30 years and the show was greeted with enthusiasm by an invited audience of family and friends. At the end of the evening, which raised over £1,200 for the local St Wilfrid’s Hospice, musicians and audience members asked when the next gig was going to happen. A few days later, still bathed in the post gig afterglow, Peter decided to ask the band if they wanted to do it again and a first public gig followed in 2016. Now they are preparing for their 3rd annual fund raising concert for the hospice on 11th March at the Horseshoe Inn, Windmill Hill, nr Herstmonceux.  

    The band comprises the standard 5-4-4-4 line up plus two superb vocalists, Stephen Dunnett and Suzanne Cornford, who are both well known to Sussex music fans and all the musicians are experienced performers. The core of the repertoire is the music of the ‘Rat Pack’ and big band eras but also includes more recent popular classics.  Peter tries, whenever possible, to use transcriptions of the original arrangements that will be familiar to the public and is always on the lookout for good quality charts of numbers that maybe other bands don’t play. 

    Based at the Horseshoe Inn, the All-Stars currently perform only for their annual hospice fundraiser but as the repertoire is growing who knows what the future may bring. For more details about the band or the show on 11th March contact Peter Blackmore (01323 764192) p_blackmore@hotmail.com or visit their website: http://www.sussexallstarsbigband.co.uk.

 

    Time for apologies, for a couple of alternative facts in recent columns.  One due to ignorance.  The other due to haste induced carelessness.  In the January issue I gave the contact for The One World Jazz Orchestra as Gram Canyon.  Due to family and work commitments he has passed on this responsibility to Paul Nieman paul@oneworldorchestra.co.uk. The band’s website is www.oneworldorchestra.co.uk.

    Last month in my review of the debut performance of the above band, I described I’m Just Wild about Busby as a tribute to architects Amon Wilds and Sir Paul Busby. I should have written Sir Charles Busby.  Although in view of the wonderful musical architecture of his compositions, I feel Paul is more worthy of the honour than many recipients. 

    If you find any more alternative facts in these columns, please let me know. But, please, not on twitter.

 

    Next month:  Hopefully news, views, and another band profile.  If you would like your band featured, and I have not already contacted you, please get in touch.  Or if there is anything else, such as gig news, or feedback on this column, that you would like me to include in April’s Big Band Scene, please send it to me by Saturday 25th March.  My email address is g8aac@yahoo.co.uk.  

 

 

Big Band Gigs

March – early April

 † a regular monthly gig

bold italics part of a regular series

 

Wednesday 1st March.

†8:30 pm, The Fred Woods Big Band at the Horsham Sports Club, Cricketfield Road, Horsham, West Sussex RH12 1TE (01403 254628).  £2 (Club members free.)

 

Thursday 2nd March.

†7:30 pm, The Maestro Big Band with Nicki Day at the Hope Inn, West Pier, Newhaven, East Sussex BN9 9DN (01273 515389).  Free entry  

 

Friday 3rd March.

8:30 pm, The Syd Lawrence Orchestra at the Capitol Theatre, North Street, Horsham, West Sussex RH12 1RG (01403 750220).  £21.50

 

Saturday 4th March.

7:15 – 10:30 pm, The Milestone Big Band ‘Strictly’ Dance Night at The Drill Hall, Denne Road, Horsham, West Sussex, RH12 1JF (02035 645225).   £15. 

 

Sunday 5th March. 

†12:45 – 3:00 pm, Sounds of Swing Big Band at The Horseshoe Inn Hotel, Posey Green, Windmill Hill, Herstmonceux, East Sussex BN27 4RU (02035 645225).   Free entry. 

7:30 – 10:00  pm, Big Band @Brunswick: Big Band Sounds at The Brunswick, 3, Holland Road, Hove BN3 1JF (01273 733984).  Free entry with collection.

 

Saturday 11th March.

8:00 pm, Sussex All-Stars Big Band with Stephen Dunnett & Suzanne Cornford at The Horseshoe Inn Hotel, Posey Green, Windmill Hill, Herstmonceux, East Sussex BN27 4RU (01323 764192). £10/children 16 and under, free.  To reserve tickets, call Peter Blackmore on the above number.  All proceeds in aid of St. Wilfrid’s Hospice.

 

Sunday 12th March.

†12:00 – 3:00 pm, Groovin’ High Big Band at the Ravenswood Country House Inn, Horsted Lane, Sharpethorne, West Sussex RH19 4HY, (01342 810216).   Free entry. 

7:30 pm, Straight No Chaser Big Band with Mark Bassey playing Basie at The Hassocks Hotel, Station Approach East Hassocks, BN6 8HN (01273 842113).   Free entry, with collection.

 

Tuesday 14th March.

†8:00 – 10:30 pm, The Ronnie Smith Big Band at The Humming Bird Restaurant, Main Terminal Building, Shoreham Airport, West Sussex,  BN43 5FF (01273 452300).  Free entry with collection.

 

Friday 24th March.

†8:30 – 11:00 pm, The Les Paul Big Band (Family & Friends evening) in Patcham, BN1, £5.  For further details contact Steve (01273 509631) steven_paul1@yahoo.co.uk (Bring your own refreshments.)

 

Saturday 25th March.

3:00 pm, Perdido Players Swing Band, Tunes and Tea, at Lindfield URC Church, 50, High Street Lindfield, West Sussex, RH16 2HL (01444 455047), Free admission with retiring collection for Air Ambulance.  

 

British Summer Time begins.

 

Sunday 26th March.

†12:30 – 3:00 pm, The South Coast Big Band at The Junction Tavern, 99 Station Road, Polegate, East Sussex BN24 6EB (01323 482010).   Free entry.

3:00 pm, The Glenn Miller Orchestra, with Swing Time Jivers and Polka Dot Dolls at The Theatre Royal, New Road, (01273 328488) Brighton BN1 1SD £21.90 – £28.90.

 

Sunday 2nd April.

†12:45 – 3:00 pm, Sounds of Swing Big Band at The Horseshoe Inn Hotel, Posey Green, Windmill Hill, Herstmonceux, East Sussex BN27 4RU (02035 645225).   Free entry.

2:00 – 4:00  pm, Saxshop at The Brunswick, 3, Holland Road, Hove BN3 1JF (01273 733984).  Free entry with charity collection. Doors open  1:30 pm.

3:00 pm, The Gordon Campbell Big Band at The Hawth, Hawth Avenue, Crawley, West Sussex RH10 6YZ (01293 5536236).   £15/14.50.

7:30 – 10:00  pm, Big Band @Brunswick: Straight No Chaser at The Brunswick, 3, Holland Road, Hove BN3 1JF (01273 733984).  Free entry with collection.

 

Wednesday 5th April.

†8:30 pm, The Fred Woods Big Band at the Horsham Sports Club, Cricketfield Road, Horsham, West Sussex RH12 1TE (01403 254628).  £2 (Club members free.)

 

Thursday 6th April.

†7:30 pm, The Maestro Big Band with Nicki Day at the Hope Inn, West Pier, Newhaven, East Sussex BN9 9DN (01273 515389).  Free entry.

 

Photo of Straight No Chaser by Neil Garrett.