Review: Pasadena Roof Orchestra, 11 Shades of Grey, at The Apex, Bury St Edmunds

Pasendena Roof Orchestr

Pasendena Roof Orchestr - Credit: Archant

Pasadena Roof Orchestra, The Apex, Bury St Edmunds, Saturday.

Bandleader, singer and musicial director Duncan Galloway strolled on stage and introduced his talented 10-piece orchestra as the 2014 version of “11 Shades of Grey”, much to the amusement of the full house at The Apex, last night (Saturday).

It helped set the tone to a fantastic and unique evening of nostalgic and truly magical music from the 1920s and 1930s.

When it comes to authentic swing music the orchestra has no equal.

Their repertoire comprises of over 200 titles of jazz, early swing and dance music from the era and the PRO featured a host of them ... even breaking down to a smaller group complete with washboard.

Pianist Simon Townley added not only a wonderful touch on the keyboards but gave that extra bit of humour as he interacted with the audience prior to displaying his skills with the George and Ira Gershwin arrangement of “Our Love Is Here To Stay”.

He also heaped glowing praise on the venue which was warmly received and got a huge chuckle when he described the audtitorium as something resembling a “giant Habitat kitchen”.

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The band has a busy few months coming up with dates in Belgium and Germany before returning to the UK in March for gigs in Andover, the Petersfield Petersfield Musical, Shrewsbury, the Shropshire Music Festival, Hastings, Codsall Community Arts Festival, Stockton on Tees, Glenrothes, Pitlochry and Blackpool.

Bury St Edmunds can count itself one of the lucky towns to have the orchestra perform on their doorstep and if the applause and encore at the end of the show was anything to go by they are sure to return very soon.

Their foot-tapping easy-listening music lasted for over two hours and included many familiar tunes which have stood the test of time including “Putting On The Ritz”, “Yes We Have No Bananas”, “If I Had A Talking Picture Of You”, “Lullaby Of Broadway”, “Where The Blue Of The Night Meets The Gold Of The Day”, “Goodnight Sweetheart”, the 1917s smash hit number “Tiger Rag” and the brilliant “Stardust”, featuring trumpet player Enrico Tomasso, who has played The Hunter Club, in Bury.

Added to that were the imaginative titled numbers “You’ve Got A Bit Of Springtime In Your Heart” by Ray Noble, Louis Armstrong’s “The Mahogany Hall Stomp”, “Trucking” by Duke Ellington and wonderful “How Am I Doing Hey, Hey, Tweet, Tweet, Tweet, Twa Twa”.

All the musicians were featured, many who contributed to some of the classic close vocal harmonies, with a great drum solo in “Tom Thumb’s Drum”.

The orchestra came back to a rapturuous encore to play “Side By Side” and their signature tune “Home In Pasadena” to round off a memorable evening’s entertainment.