2018 is as busy as ever …

2018 is as busy as ever and as always we are so grateful to our wonderful audience who come out rain or shine to support live music. Hurrah!

As well as touring the brand new show ‘Swing’s The Thing’ with our fabulous Trio and Big Mini Big Band up and down the country other highlights of the year so far include performing with Wynton Marsalis and Jazz at Lincoln Centre Orchestra at the Barbican Centre, Kansas Smitty’s House Band at Cheltenham Jazz Festival, not to mention celebrating the First Ladies of Swing with Guy Barker, The CBSO and special guests Mads Mathias, ROB.GREEN and Ben Cipolla at Birmingham’s Symphony Hall.

As 2018 rolls on, in amongst our usual hectic UK touring schedule, we’ll take time out to join a traditional paddle steamer in New Orleans, entertaining the guests cruising down the Mississippi as well as performing with the Frankfurt Radio Big Band (hr-Big Band) in Luzerne.

Work has begun on a new record which we’re hoping to release by the end of the year but will keep you posted.

Is it too early to mention Christmas?  Following on from the success of our long running and much loved Festive Fiesta now in it’s 387th year, this seasonal musical treat just got bigger! Now accompanied by our top flight 9 piece Big Mini Big Band, we will be serving up a sensational cocktail of seasonal fayre and musical highlights of 2018 kicking off at The Great Hall, Swansea The Great Hall, Swansea on Dec 1st and heading to Birmingham Town Hall on Dec 15th so come and join in the fun!

From  Duo, Trio, Big Mini Big Band to 18 piece roaring big band or full orchestra,  if you’re looking for an evening of live music that is upbeat and uplifting to extreme and  performed by the very best, check out our Live Dates for a venue near you!

Leeds Town Hall: 160 years of history

At the end of next month we take our Big Mini Big Band to play at the beautiful town hall in Leeds, it’ll be our first visit since the brilliant culmination concert of the BBC Radio Leeds community Big Band Project back in October 2012 featuring special guests Gregory Porter and Olly Murs.

The plan to construct a large public hall in Leeds was first agreed in July 1850, the council proposed it should be financed by selling shares in the building to the tune of £10, around £1300 in today’s money, but times were tough and little interest was shown.  The decision to fund the build by other means was passed a year later and in 1852 Leeds corporation held an open competition for architects to put forward their designs.

The contract was won by 29 year old Cuthbert Broderick a young chap from Hull who had travelled all over Europe in his early 20’s admiring the architecture whislt enjoying a gap year or two.  Understandably the committee had initial reservations about the capabilities of such a young unknown, so added a clause to his contract stating he wouldn’t receive a penny over the accepted building estimate of £39,000 approx. £5.25 million today.

During it’s troubled construction the design was modified and or altered many times, most controversially by the suggested inclusion of a tower originally costed at an additional £6k.  Those in favour dreamed of the Continental associations of an impressive and grand town hall.  Those against argued that “A tower would cost money and would only be good to look at, not to use.” Maybe the inclusion of the clock and bell helped remedy that argument as few had watches at that time.

As you’d expect plans for the town hall’s opening had to be made well in advance so much so, the clock tower had yet to be completed by the time Queen Victoria and Prince Albert arrived at Leeds station on the 6th September 1858, met by an estimated crowd of half a million plus. They stayed overnight at the mayor’s gaff, he must have put on a nice spread as she knighted him next day on her way to open the Town Hall.

I shall think of this and all the historic events that have taken place within her walls over the last 160 years as we set up for our concert on 30th June.


Swing’s The Thing

We’re swinging into 2018 with the ‘Swing’s The Thing’. 

This brand new show sees Clare and her excellent musicians effortlessly traverse a rich landscape of timeless and sparkling material, with standards from the grand masters of the Great American Song Book, Cole Porter & Rodgers & Hart, to witty urbane song stylists of the 50’s & 60’2 Cy Coleman & Carolyn Leigh & Dave Brubeck, there’s always a not to more contemporary writers and originals too.

So check out our listings page for a venue near you and join us for a celebration of popular music from the golden age of song that guarantees to be upbeat and uplifting to the extreme!