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Big Bands Are Back

Debbie Curtis Radio Big Band News Letter
Featuring: Hobsons Choice Dancers and Re-Enactors
London Palladium Review by Jim Kennedy
Copyright: Encore Magazine : The Light Entertainment Magazine for the Theatre Professional

Eccentric Rhythmical Brilliance

I knew it was to be something special half way down London's Argyll Street, on route to the Palladium a classic American car with a ghetto-blaster fastened to the roof and parked right outside the main entrance to the world famous theatre, blared out Big Band Swing, setting the mood for the crowds that were gathering for the evening performance whilst extras kitted out in the clothing of this special musical era, happily mixed and mingled.

And if that scene setting cameo was to prove a hard act to follow, no one had told the band on show. Fronted by one of the UK's top (female) musical directors, DEBBIE CURTIS, her RADIO BIG BAND roared into their opening number - 'Hawaii 50' - with power and precision. Miss Curtis, however, takes some quite getting used to for her approach appears somewhat impulsive and spontaneous - even, it must be said, a trifle zany. She uses the full area of the stage, striding imperiously and conducting the orchestra by waving her arms around like a windmill in a gale. Her blonde locks cascade to her waist and she chatters away, inaudibly at times... even once admonishing one of the sax section for not paying attention to her spoken word. 'What did I just say?' she bellows at the unsuspecting musician. He looks suitably embarrassed but the moment passes in roars of laughter and it is obvious that the whole ensemble love her to bits. And before long, we do too. Pure camp...and how we respond!

The HOBSONS CHOICE DANCERS come on and off stage whenever a band arrangement induces a jive and the afore-mentioned RE-ENACTORS, showing off the wardrobe of the post war times, wander on and off willy-nilly, disconcertingly at first until you get used to it but, through it all, the band swing like crazy, carried away by the sheer joy of it all. Some wonderful arrangements including 'In the Mood', 'Heart & Soul', 'Brazillia' and 'Peanut Vendor' and including great solos from the brilliant GEOFF EALES (Piano), MARTIN SHAW (Trumpet), LEE HALLAM (Trombone), EDDIE MORDUE (Sax) and a quite superb drum sequence from stick man, BOB HOWARD.

Two guest vocalists contribute a great deal to the presentation - Scotland's IAIN EWING and, particularly, Norwegian star COREY CONRADI, whose velvet voice was joy to listen to. The fact that he looks good and tap dances a dream is quite incidental.

But make no bones about it, this is some Big Band, featuring a powerful rhythm section, fluid saxes, driving trombones and a crisp trumpet ensemble that make the rafters ring. A band that swing in tight precision and led by a brilliant but mildly eccentric front lady that truly knows her business, both musically and in the art of entertaining an audience. Big Band fans, take note... this is a class outfit with a capital C, playing a style of musical entertainment that will certainly put a lot of bums on a lot of seats in the years ahead. I can't wait to see (and hear) them again.

Other Big Bands Beware!

Jim Kennedy
Encore Magazine
Encore Website www.encorextra.com

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If you forward our newsletters, please ensure that the person you send it to will be happy to receive it.
We apologise if you are receiving this letter without wishing to.

Origin: This Newsletter was sent to debbiecurtis@btconnect.com
by The Debbie Curtis Office. Box 14, HP9 1XR - Tel: 01494 670006
You have been sent this mail as you are in Debbie Curtis or Nigel Ward's email address book from previous correspondence or
because you have requested news letters. If you wish to be deleted from the list please reply and include the following details :-
Debbie Curtis & debbiecurtis@btconnect.com Thank You.

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