The latest from the stables of the Virtual Music Project is the second of two recordings of the Virtual Dance Orchestra’s version of Duke Ellington’s classic tune, Don’t Get Around Much Anymore (most appropriate for the current climate…) featuring current fourth-year baritone, Will Clothier, from the School of Archaeology and Conservation.
When not studying or off working on a rhino conservation site in South Africa, Will sings in the University Chamber Choir, and was recently seen treading the stage as the King of Hearts in the Music Department’s production of Alice in Wonderland: A Musical Dream Play. From his home in Leeds, Will sent in a recording, and this morning we’re very pleased to present a leaner mix of the piece, featuring a stripped-down version of the virtual big band behind Will’s voice.
This version follows hard upon the previous incarnation, featuring alumna Steph Richardson singing with a fuller virtual dance band; the next challenge is to combine the two voices to create a virtual duet – stay tuned…
The latest addition to the burgeoning Virtual Music Project features alumnus and pianist, Jim Reid, trading pianistic tricks and turns with Your Loyal Correspondent in a virtual two-piano rendition of Doxy by jazz giant, Sonny Rollins. Originally written by Rollins in 1954 and recorded alongside Miles Davis, and famously included on Davis’ album as band-leader, Bags Groove, three years later, Doxy has since become a classic of the repertoire.
More from the Virtual Music Project later in the week…
Dust off your dancing-shoes, you’re going to need them this year; the 1940’s dance orchestra, General Harding’s Tomfoolery, has emerged phoenix-like from the ashes and is back playing once more.
The ensemble performs from original sheet-music bequeathed to the Music department back in 2005 by George and Maureen Morgan; the collection belonged to George’s group, the Ken Lewis Dance Orchestra, which was active throughout the 1950s to the 1970s playing around the county. This wonderful legacy form the core repertoire for the department’s ensemble, which breathes life anew into the vintage parts.
This year, the group is joined by guest singers with an international spirit, second-years Elle Soo (from Singapore) and Robbie Frederick (from Spain). Elle will be familiar to followers of the University Big Band, with whom she sang last year and continues to do so this year; both Elle and Robbie are bringing alive classic tunes including Lady Is A Tramp and Baby, It’s Cold Outside.
The ensemble will be in action as part of Nostalgia Night on Friday 22 November, performing pieces including Moonlight Serenade, and then taking to the foyer-stage at 1.10pm for A Christmas Tomfoolery, on Weds 11 December, as a prelude to the ‘Christmas Swingalong’ later that day.
It promises to be a vintage year – make sure you catch them playing this year; details on our What’s One pages here.
Fresh from the success of its lunchtime concert last term which had people on their feet dancing in Colyer-Fergusson Hall, General Harding’s Tomfoolery, the vintage jazz orchestra, is back in action next Friday night.
The 1930’s style dance band will unveil a whole new repertoire on Friday 19 May, as well as favourites from its previous gigs; together with the close-harmony singers, The Minervettes, the players will unveil an evening of vintage swing classics alongside forgotten gems from the Golden Age of Dance Bands in Moonlight Serenade: an evening with GHT.
The ensemble has continued to delve deeply into the treasure-trove of archive repertoire that was bequeathed to the music department back in 2005 by the Ken Lewis Dance Orchestra, a dance band active throughout the South East from the 1950s to the 1970s. Original band-parts crackle with renewed vigour as tunes such as The Continental, On The Street Where You Live and Pennsylvania 6-5000 dance off the music-stand in rehearsals, alongside tunes from slightly off the beaten path, such as Button Up Your Overcoat and Zambezi. And of course, Glenn Miller’s signature tune, Moonlight Serenade, will be a part of the programme that night too…
Tickets are only £5 a pop for what promises to be an energetic trip to a bygone era – dancing-shoes are essential, cloche hats optional! Find out more here.
(Straw) hats off to the member of General Harding’s Tomfoolery and the Minervettes, for their recent, storming lunchtime concert in Colyer-Fergusson Hall. The thirteen-piece dance orchestra, performing from original sheet-music from the 1930s, 40s and 50s delivered an energetic performance that had people dancing along.
We were particularly delighted to welcome to the gig Maureen Morgan, wife of bandleader and founder of the Ken Lewis Dance Orchestra, George Morgan, whose generous bequest of all the sheet music from the original dance orchestra allows us to breath new life into the original band-parts.
Tomfoolery will be back in action on Friday 19 May in an evening performance; bring your dancing-shoes!
Images © Kester Campbell / University of Kent
Cometh the hour, cometh the jazz musicians: the stars have aligned, and this year the twelve-piece dance band, General Harding’s Tomfoolery, is back in action.
The group was originally formed in 2013 to breathe new life into a set of dance-band music originally bequeathed to the Music department by the Ken Lewis Dance Orchestra. The original folders of music contain vintage original copies of pieces from the 1930s through to the 1950s, including swing classics such as Tuxedo Junction and American Patrol, brittle with age and with faded Sellotape sometimes holding the fragile pages together. The group gigged throughout the year, including a memorable afternoon which had Colyer-Fergusson Hall filled with people dancing along.
The band has returned with faces both old and new, bringing together undergraduate and postgraduate musicians from a variety of subjects from both the Canterbury and Medway campuses, and is busy rehearsing for its first gig on the foyer-stage next month, Weds 14 December. We had a mock-up yesterday – leaving space for a drum-kit, not one but TWO bassists, and a couple of additional brass instruments – to check we can all fit on the stage. Who knows…
Bring your dancing-shoes on Weds 14 December at 1.10pm, when Tomfoolery will play a festively swinging set to get people In The Mood for the Big Band’s seasonal favourite, the Christmas Swing-along, at 5.15pm later in the day. More details here.
Happy birthday to the jazz giant and saxophone colossus, John Coltrane, born today in 1926.
Legendary sideman, bandleader, endless searching to break new ground, Coltrane’s long shadow reaches beyond his untimely death from liver cancer at the age of forty, and embraces his time as sideman with Miles Davis to his own groups with figures including McCoy Tyner, Eric Dolphy, Jimmy Garrison and Elvin Jones to his increasingly experimental work with Pharoah Sanders, and late recordings with his second wife, Alice, as pianist.
Difficult to choose a commemorative listening track, but I’ve gone with the opening to 1964’s Crescent; an exploratory, questing opening leads into a slow, stately articulation of the melody, punctuated by uneasy rumbles on kit, before stepping off into a brisk swing, fistfuls of McCoy Tyner’s colourful chords underpinning a bold, expressive improvisation from Coltrane that typically grows more expansive as it unfurls.
Happy birthday to a jazz great.