Our next lunchtime concert on Weds 11 March sees trombonist Geoff Mason bring his quintet to Colyer-Fergusson for what promises to be a mouth-watering gig.
A regular with the Ronnie Scott’s Big Band, Geoff Mason is widely regarded as the leading exponent of ‘Blue Note Era’ jazz in the UK, named for legendary sound engineer Ruby van Gelder’s recordings by players such as Lee Konitz, Dexter Gordon, Freddie Hubbard and Cannonball Adderley during the 1950s and 60s.
The quintet line-up reads like a veritable ‘Who’s Who’ of British jazz, and includes drummer Trevor Tomkins, saxophonist Simon Spillett and pianist John Horler. I remember hearing a gig with John Horler and guitarist John Etherbridge broadcast on Radio 3 a few years ago that was mesmerising.
The programme promises a blend of jazz standards and bebop tunes, and will surely be a highlight of the year; the concert starts at 1.10pm, admission is free with a retiring donation.
Here’s a classic of the Blue Note sound: Cannonball Adderley as front-man to a group including Miles Davis, in ‘Love for Sale’ from the 1958 classic, Somethin’ Else. (Just look at that line-up…)
Although Summer Music Week was over, we couldn’t let the opportunity for one final event to pass us by, and for the Dance Orchestra to have one final farewell. On the last day of term, General Harding’s Tomfoolery gathered on the cabaret-stage in the Gulbenkian Cafe to bid a fleet-footed farewell not just to the term, but to the academic year – and to an industrious few weeks of performing! (Was it really only on 31 May that the band won Keynestock and embarked on its six-gigs-in-twenty-one-days spree ?!)
Our usual bass-player was away that day – a tip o’ the straw hat to Jenn Morgan who stepped up to play, and performed as though she’d been a part of the band for ages.
Thanks to the Gulbenkian for hosting us, and to everyone who has been a part of the group this year.
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.
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.
Amidst 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!
Since last we posted, we’ve had a lunchtime recital from some of the Music Scholars on Tuesday, and yesterday’s jazz-themed bonanza was bursting with vigour. First of all, General Harding’s Tomfoolery had the crowd on its feet in a lunchtime gig recreating ‘The Golden Age,’ with the vocal talents of Steph Richardson and Rob Cliff, ably compered by Adam Murgatroyd. Hot on the heels of this came live jazz-funk on the foyer-stage, with an interlude from vocal trio The Canterberries.
Last night finished with the annual Big Band Gala under the direction of conductor Ian Swatman – and more dancing!
There’s plenty still to come: find out all that’s happening over the next few days here.
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.
The 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.
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…!
Under 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.
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…)