This week’s episode of our In Conversation series features saxophonist with the Jools Holland Rhythm and Blues Orchestra, Phil Veacock, in discussion with director of the University Concert and Big Bands, Ian Swatman.
From reflecting on early inspiration playing the recorder and school leading into playing the clarinet, Phil looks back on being inspired to take up the saxophone on seeing 2-Tone bands playing on Top of the Pops; playing with The Larks and turning down a recording contract; illicit vegetable snaffling in east Kent; joining the Jools Holland Rhythm and Blues Orchestra, playing on Wogan and Chris Evans’ Don’t Forget Your Toothbrush and the ‘Hootenanny’ revels; and, during COVID restrictions, finding alternative work as a delivery driver for the Charlton Bakehouse bakery.
Enjoy this lively and fascinating chat over on our YouTube channel, where the hour-long conversation is divided into chapters covering various aspects of Phil’s reflections.
Our Scholars’ Spotlight series of filmed short recitals by Music Performance Scholars and Award Holders resumes tomorrow, with second-year saxophonist reading Physics, David Curtiss.
The continuing series, filmed without an audience in Colyer-Fergusson Hall, highlights many of this year’s students, and this week’s screening at 1.15pm sees David perform the wonderfully colourful, jazz-infused slow movement from the Sonata for Saxophone and Piano by the great Phil Woods.
Join us at 1.15pm when the film airs, or catch-up with it anytime afterwards.
It’s not Christmas without a performance in the Music Department of Santa Baby, and we’re delighted to bring that annual tradition round again this month, albeit in a slightly different format.
Although we can’t bring you the traditional Christmas Swingalong, we hope you enjoy this short jazz session, featuring third-year singers Elle Soo (reading Social Anthropology) and Robbie Frederick (Comparative Literature and Drama) in a handful of festive favourites, concluding with the evergreen seasonal duet, Baby It’s Cold Outside.
A little festive cheer for us all…
Filmed in Colyer-Fergusson Hall; with thanks to Thomas Connor, Luke McCann and George Morris.
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