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A Ballroom Wedding!

DSC_7636Last night we played at the wedding of a wonderful couple, Steve and Laura at Airport House in Croydon. Full Swing / Soul Band line-up, with 5 horns.

Firstly I must say  that they were the nicest couple any wedding band could hope to be booked by – they really took care of us, and their family and ushers were so friendly,constantly stopping by to ask if everything was ok for the band.

What made it really special was that they are amateur ballroom dancers (although the word amateur in this case is wrong, they danced like professionals).They did a brilliant routine to their first dance” A Nightingale Sang in Berkeley Square” by Bobby Darin, which is in my opinion one of the tightest (in musical terms) and best arranged versions of that tune in big swing band style.

It was such synergy – the band played the exact same arrangements for that song, they performed “Strictly” in perfect time with flair, style and elegance, it was a magical moment.

But there’s more..throughout the evening guests were doing foxtrots, quicksteps, rhumbas…(and of course bopping and party-dancing) and during the break there was a 30 minute demonstration or all major ballroom styles in full costume by the couples from the Wimbledon school of Ballroom Dancing.( run by the lovely Olga) Unbelievably entertaining!

So between the Swing, Soul, Ballroom and with me doing a bit of impromptu “compering” (yes Brucey, you’ve got competition) a good time was had by all.

Thanks Steve and Laura. We hope to play for you to dance again someday soon.

Paris Swings as well

We made a short trip to Paris last weekend, the highlight was Thursday night.

We were in the Café Brunel in the 17th district, when they started carting in guitars, keyboards, speakers etc….anyway to cut a long wedding bands story short, I (Stirling) ended up singing and jamming with the brilliant quartet run by Philippe Bensoussan, who also manages function bands in Paris with his agency Annapurna.

Great musicians, no big egos, just really nice people and they really know how to have fun. The bar was soon filled with Frenchies all singing and dancing….I must say I was impressed, they really know how to make a party band feel good!

A few too many excellent glasses of vin rouge, but a fantastic night was had by all. Thanks to Philippe and la bande, et le patron du Café Brunel. What a brilliant find, highly recommended any night, but especially thursdays!

Feed your children swing and jazz

scatcat-150x150There was an interesting article a while ago by Neil McCormick entitled “Do we really need ‘children’s music’? They’ll be fine with David Bowie”.

Firstly I must say that I do agree with Mr McCormick, he makes a good point. It should never be underestimated just how much influence the style of music that children listen to has on their personal development as a citizen of the world. In other words,  the music  but you are brought up listening to is probably what will inspire you,  not to mention how the adults who are around those kids will be affected.
Now that’s not to say that Humpty Dumpty will make you worried about sitting on walls, or that learning common usage expressions from listening to songs with explicit lyrics will affect your chances of getting into Eton, but  there’s definitely a link somewhere.
Now of course I’m biased. I love swing and big band music, 50’s etc. No nasty lyrics there, although perhaps a few disguised innuendos. (How about Bill Haley’s famous line in “Shake, Rattle & Roll” -” I’m like a one eyed cat, feeding in a seafood store”….)

Anyway, my theory is that if children were fed a musical diet of Glenn Miller, Frank Sinatra, The Rat Pack, Nat King Cole,  Ella Fitzgerald and the like, then this would have  an extremely beneficial effect on their formative years, their language and their behaviour.

So if anybody  is interested in sponsoring a children’s album project, for example called ” Swinging in the Crib”, then do get in touch. You never know,  those children’s nursery rhyme lyrics might have a wonderful effect on the kids, whilst at the same time as giving both them and their parents that wonderful fuzzy feeling you get from listening to good old swing band music.

And perhaps I could calmly retire on the royalties…