Snape Proms: Back to Basie

Snape Proms 2007, Back To Basie Orchestra, Monday, August 13 TO those of a certain age, and I suppose I must be one of them, it was almost a re-run of All Our Yesteryears.

Snape Proms 2007, Back To Basie Orchestra, Monday, August 13

TO those of a certain age, and I suppose I must be one of them, it was almost a re-run of All Our Yesteryears.

The music may well be regarded as old hat by a much younger generation but it still swings and, through concerts like this, it will live on for many years to come.

Leader of the band, trumpeter Paul Lacey, who played the pubs and clubs around Leiston when he was a teenager, is an astute man and by combining the big band swing of the legendary Count Basie and the best of the equally legendary Frank Sinatra he's on to a winner.


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He's managed to collect together some of the finest of UK jazz musicians - plus a Canadian - to form a cracking band.

They opened with the up-tempo Flight of the Foo Birds that allowed most of the musicians a good limber up, so to speak, and followed it up with Splanky and 9:20 Special, three of the Count's best.

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Then it was Frank Sinatra time, as the elegant Matt Ford made the stage his own with a medley of Sinatra favourites that featured Come Fly With Me, I've Got You Under My Skin and, just to slow things down a little, Pennies From Heaven.

Back came the band with their versions of the familiar Shiny Stockings and the less familiar Cute, then Matt Ford, a winner of television's Star In Their Eyes programme as Harry Connick Junior, delivered a real party piece with a particularly emotive version of The Shadow of Your Smile that drew, I dare say, a little tear or two among the ladies in the capacity audience.

A real soundalike if ever there was one, close your eyes, and one might have been listening to the real thing.

In the second set there was more of the best of Basie with such numbers as Kid From Redbank, Teddy The Toad and Whirlybird and there numerous superb solos from saxophonists Mark Crooks, Canadian Stave Kaldestadt, Colin Skinner, who also directed the band, and Ipswich's own Karen Sharp.

Powered along by a cracking rhythm section that featured Nick Dawson on piano, Dave Chamberlain (bass) and Colin Oxley (guitar) and powerhouse drummer Matt Skelton all members of Stacey Kent's band, there was more hard driven Basie with Jumpin' At the Woodside and, arguably, the best known of Basie… April in Paris, complete with “false” endings. . . one almost expected Mel Brook's Blazing Saddles to come racing across the stage!

There was just enough time for Matt Ford to return with One More For the Road, I Get a Kick Out of You and My Kind of Town and the show closed on a high with One O'Clock Jump.

The happy buzz and beaming smiles on the faces of the audience as they left said it all. . .a wonderful evening. Our kind of Music is still alive and kicking!

Alan Crumpton

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