Rousing night of tunes from Chris Dean and the Syd Lawrence Orchestra
THE Central Hall became a musical time machine as the years rolled away, rekindling memories of younger times for an enthusiastic and appreciative audience.
At the helm of this journey to a golden age was Chris Dean, accompanied by the fine musicians of the Syd Lawrence Orchestra.
The “SLO”, as their fans affectionately know them, enjoys a reputation for recreating the distinctive sound of the Glenn Miller Orchestra.
It was, therefore, no surprise that the tunes associated with this legendary band should prompt some of the biggest responses of the night.
Tunes that included A String Of Pearls, In The Mood, American Patrol with a thundering drum solo from Dave Tandy and St Louis Blues, which featured a blazing cont- ribution from the trumpet section. Names such as Count Basie, Duke Ellington and Artie Shaw peppered the two sets while the Billy May number You’re Driving Me Crazy provided the opportunity for a slice of fun.
There were featured soloists aplenty but, for me, there were two standout contributions of the night, one was saxophonist Colin Skinner’s hauntingly beautiful Boulevard Of Broken Dreams.
The other was pianist Trevor Brown’s equally delightful and seductive arrangement of The Dream Of Olwen, the popular theme tune of a now long forgotten movie. In between the instrumentals, lead vocals switched from Angie Mills to Chris Dean with a contrasting selection of songs and tempos that included Almost Like Being In Love, One (from A Chorus Line), Bye Bye Blues and Sinatra’s My Kind of Town.
The “SLO” played with pace, punch and style, sweeping the audience along with them towards a climatic The Peanut Vendor, imbued with showmanship from “the best big band in the land”.