The Golden Age Of British Big Bands
Featuring the music of Jack Hylton, Al Bowlly, Ted Heath, Tubby Hayes, Johnny Dankworth, Matt Monro & More...
After a triumphant run through the history of mainly American jazz, we have turned our attention to home-grown talent (and several musicians from overseas who made their names here).
In the first half of The Golden Age Of British Big Bands we visit 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.
Tom Langham sings George Formby's 1932 hit "I Told My Baby With My Ukulele."
Pete Long and his Big Band are 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 feature 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.
A true celebration of old favourites and hidden treasures all performed superbly by the great musicians of the Jazz Repertory Company.