Category Archives: Jazz Booth

Profiling Jazz

Big Band fundraiser: a thank-you from Porchlight

From Porchlight’s Community Fundraising Officer, Kate Lumley.


Kate Lumley
Kate Lumley

Thank you so much to Dan Harding, Ian Swatman, the University Big Band and the Music Department for supporting Porchlight with the first concert of Summer Music Week and wishing us a Happy Birthday! The charity’s 40th Anniversary has certainly got off to a great start and we couldn’t be more grateful for the support we’ve received so far. It really is fantastic when local groups and businesses decide to fundraise for the charity (especially when that’s combined with brilliant music-making at the seaside!) because their efforts really help change people’s lives in their community and across Kent and Croydon.

01Last year, Porchlight managed to help over 4,000 homeless and vulnerable people turn their lives around, and this would not have been possible without the generosity of the general public, local businesses and groups like the UKC Big Band. However, the charity is still in need of your help! More people are needing our help while funds are being cut and this is having a direct impact on our services and in turn, how many people we can reach out to. This is best illustrated through the situation with our Rough Sleeper team, who go out and find rough sleepers early in the morning or in the evening to offer them help, which has been reduced from over twenty workers to just six over the space of two years. This means that more people will be facing the dangers of rough sleeping for longer before we can find and help them. The money raised by the UKC Big Band concert could pay for two Rough Sleeper team workers for a day plus two welcome packs for someone moving into one of our supported accommodation projects with nothing of their own.

If you’d like to support the charity and help our services to continue, please check out our website and read about the many ways you can get involved

Image Gallery: Summer Music Week: General Harding’s Tomfoolery

Thanks to Matt Wilson for these stunning photos of General Harding’s Tomfoolery inspiring the audience to dance on the Wednesday of Summer Music Week. Comprising student musicians and run by your loyal correspondent, this vibrant  twelve-piece dance orchestra rekindled the spirit of the 1930s, and members of the audience were inspired to leap to their feet during classic tunes such as In The Mood and Minnie the Moocher.

The group performs from original 1930s sheet music, a bequest to the department some years ago from the Ken Lewis Dance Orchestra; the archive of pieces, still tied with original string, brittle with age and use, is an astonishing memento of the era – it’s fantastic to be breathing new life into these venerable instrumental parts.

See all the images from Summer Music Week on our Pinterest board here.

Images © Matt Wilson / University of Kent

General Tomfoolery visit St Christopher’s School celebrations

There was sunshine, song and some sophisticated swing yesterday afternoon, as General Harding’s Tomfoolery (or the University Dance Band, depending on how you might have heard of them!) played at the annual VE Day celebrations at St Christopher’s primary school in Canterbury.

VE03Amidst a back-drop of a bunting-bedecked playground, patrolled by pupils and staff in period costume, the event included theatrical, musical and poetic contributions from the school pupils, after which the band launched into Tuexdo Junction and a vibrant set to entertain the children, staff, parents and visitors.

There’s more from the band this Friday lunchtime at 1.10pm, as they take to the Gulbenkian cafe cabaret stage for ‘One Last Dance;’ make sure you’re there!

That fuss was us! Tomfoolery Dance Orchestra: The Golden Age this Weds

For anyone who’s not come across #hidehidehi, General Harding’s Tomfoolery (aka the University Dance Orchestra!) has been quietly rising through the ranks; hot on the heels of winning the recent Keynestock 2014, the group played the Kent Union Summer Ball on Saturday night to great acclaim, and is set to bring a little of the 1930s to the Colyer-Fergusson Hall this Wednesday lunchtime.

Tomfoolery_Keynestock

Tomfoolery_SummerBallThe Golden Age will see the band re-creating the sounds of the era – there will be a space for dancing, and period costume is recommended! The gig is free and starts at 1.10pm, prepare to swing – bring your dancing-shoes.

Find out more about the group here, or Follow it on Twitter here, and check out its Facebook Page here. Find out what all the fuss is about this Wednesday at Summer Music Week.

Image Gallery: Summer Music Week: Big Band at the Beach

Congratulations to the dynamic duo of Ian Swatman and the University Big Band, who launched this year’s Summer Music Week in tremendous style yesterday afternoon.

Glorious sunshine, open skies and sizzling temperatures were all matched by some searingly hot music from the band, together with singers Ruby Mutlow and Steph Richardson, on the Memorial Bandstand at Deal. With the gig due to start at 2.30pm, the band arrived for a soundcheck at 1pm and by 1.15pm a sizeable crowd had already developed; I don’t think I’ve ever seen a soundcheck so well attended…!

01Under Ian’s vigorous direction, the band delivered an afternoon of tremendously vibrant music, much appreciated by the large crowd taking in the sun and the songs. The event not only launched this year’s week-long celebration of music to mark the end of the academic year, but was also a part of the yearl-long party for Porchlight, the Kent-based charity that supports homeless and at-risk people across the county; we’re delighted to have taken part.

The week continues today with Scenes from Mozart on the foyer-stage at 5pm, and the Big Band will return this Wednesday for its final musical ‘huzzah!’ in the Colyer-Fergusson Hall at 7.30pm.

Images © Peter Cook / University of Kent

Dance Orchestra at Summer Music Week: playlist on Spotify

Continuing with the jazz thread running through Summer Music Week next month, the new University Dance Orchestra brings the spirit of the 1930s to the Colyer-Fergusson Hall on Wednesday 11 June;  to that end, Captain Murgatroyd has risen from the trombone section to create a Spotify playlist of tunes that we’ll be playing, to get you in the mood (d’you see what I did, there…)

http://open.spotify.com/user/murgatroyd91/playlist/6pnnHfWjsesmldD99DkBuF

tomfooleryBring your dancing-shoes to the event; period costume optional, but highly recommended! It should be a great occasion; get the date in your diaries now…

Speake the Truth: workshop with British jazz giant

After a mesmerising lunchtime concert from the Martin Speake Trio on Wednesday, some of the University students had the opportunity to work with the musicians in the workshop that followed.

Led by saxophonist Martin Speake, the students shared insights into aspects of jazz and improvisation with guitarist Mike Outram and drummer Jeff Williams, exploring in particular Secret Woods, one of the pieces the trio had played in the lunchtime concert. The musicians examined what working together as a group involves, the role of different instruments and aspects of space and silence in music; as Mike Outram put it, “I think of space [in music] as active, rather than passive. You’re actively putting it out there.”

A terrific opportunity for some of our musicians to learn from three of the finest musicians working in the world of jazz. Our thanks to the trio.