Aficionados of the music of Glenn Miller and Benny Goodman had a real treat last week at the Kingswood Village Hall. And even those for whom big-band jazz is not their first choice musical genre revelled in the big, brassy sound and the exquisite musicianship of the Kingswood Big Band Legends as they put on a rare public concert.
The band, which contains stars of the British jazz scene including Bill Geldard, Barry Forgie and the 90 year old Ronnie Hughes amongst other notables, usually plays to an audience of precisely zero at the Kingswood Hall. This is because it is their regular rehearsal venue, where they get together, driven purely by their love of the music, to hone their skills playing with other high calibre musicians. For this concert the band numbered 17 instrumentalists, or, as Barry Forgie quipped at one point, “16 musicians and a drummer”! Their music was augmented on a number of songs by the gorgeous voice of Chris Scott.
Despite the unusual 2pm Monday start time, the hall was full to bursting. The programme of jazz classics to which the audience were then treated included The Song is You, featuring a virtuoso trombone solo by Martin Gladdish, Fly Me to the Moon, a perfect vehicle for Chris Scott’s vocal talents and a haunting version of Michel Legrand’s What Are You Doing the Rest of Your Life? especially arranged for the concert by band member Graham Mintram. To add a festive touch there was the unusual Glenn Miller arrangement of Jingle Bells, complete with vocals from the whole band. The programme finished with a stomping rendition of That Ole Black Magic, followed by tumultuous applause.
Bob Gunn, for the Kingswood Village Community Association, presented the band with a photographic memento of the afternoon created by Christine Barrass – www.chrisbphotography.co.uk . He spoke for the whole audience when he said it had been a real privilege to enjoy such an afternoon of superb jazz.
The full list of band personnel was:-
Trumpets: Graham Russell, Steve Dawes, Huw Evans, Phil Addison, Ronnie Hughes.
Trombones: Barry Forgie, Bill Geldard, Martin Gladdish, David Lalljee.
Saxophones: Altos: Barrie Shaw, Arnie Bibby
Tenors: David Brown, Mike Lavelle.
Baritone: Graham Mintram
Piano: Paul Williams.
Double Bass: Marianne Windham
Drums: John Sergeant
Vocalist: Chris Scott