At King’s Hall, Ilkley on Thursday 28 November, the audience will be treated to beautifully arranged songs from Irving Berlin, Ray Noble, Cole Porter and their contemporaries and re-live the electrifying hot jazz from Fletcher Henderson and Duke Ellington.
Presenting the show, and putting on the top hat and tails, is the suave singer and band leader Duncan Galloway.
So where does the music of the Pasadena Roof Orchestra fit? It isn’t ‘pop’ (though some of it was). It isn’t contemporary ‘jazz’, though its roots are in jazz and dance music. It isn’t ‘classical’, yet it draws on the past for its material, in particular the classic jazz repertoire from Duke Ellington (long featured on BBC Radio 3), music from the Great American Songbook and the likes of Gershwin, Porter, Berlin, Kern, which have become ‘standards’ in their own right, as have wonderful songs from Ray Noble, Hoagy Carmichael and a host of famous names.
Over its 50 year history, the orchestra has built an un-matched library of music. Some of the arrangements are note-for-note as played by Ellington, Fletcher Henderson, Noble, Jack Hylton or other classic outfits of the period. Many are their own special arrangements, crafted in the style. It takes a special skill to change the attitude from a twenties ‘Charleston’ sound over to the ‘uptown swing’ of an arrangement from Duke Ellington or Fletcher Henderson from the early ‘30s. Of course it helps to have the right kind of period instrument and to have painstakingly researched the style, but it is the jazz spirit and passion of each member of the orchestra which brings the music alive.
For 50-years the orchestra has vividly captured an atmosphere, a mood which is stylish and elegant, yet forceful and vivacious; but above all good fun!