The Gorgeous Big Horns Big Band
December 6th 2016
A Merry Jazzy Big Band Christmas
A packed Chipping Sodbury Town Hall enjoyed an excellent evening of big band fare, jazz, swing and seasonal cheer from Mike Daniel’s Great Big Horns Big Band with their vocalist for the evening, Clara Cecilia Atkins. The party mood was enhanced by the excellent mulled wine and cider, and delicious mince pies, served from the venue bar by Wards @ Chipping Sodbury Town Hall.
The opening number was the Benny Goodman version of “Sing, Sing, Sing” before the audience was introduced to Clara, whose compelling voice was perfectly suited to “It Don’t Mean a Thing...”. The first set included a couple of Stan Kenton’s numbers from his 1961 “A Merry Christmas” album, featuring trumpets and saxophones in classically influenced style. Memorable, too, was Clara’s rendition of the George and Ira Gershwin number “Someone to Watch Over Me”, where she fronted the accomplished rhythm section; a beautiful American classic, beautifully sung. Woody Herman’s “Woodchopper’s Ball”, his first hit on the Decca label (eventually selling more than five million copies) ended the first half and featured Simon Marsh on clarinet.
Tom Kubis’s musical arrangements define the contemporary big band sound and his version of “Joy to the World” provided the rousing opening to the second half, featuring Simon Marsh again, this time on soprano saxophone. This was followed by Clara singing “Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow!” with Berry Goddard on tenor saxophone. Nick Malcolm, on trumpet, gave us more Christmas cheer with “It came upon a Midnight Clear” and the trombones delivered “Adeste Fideles”, translated from Latin as “O Come, All Ye Faithful”. The second set concluded with “Deck the Halls”, to supposedly send the audience on their way. However, the loud applause and standing ovation led to an encore “Oh Holy Night”.
No review would be complete without a thank you to everyone who contributed to the success of the evening. We are extremely grateful to the local retailers and members of the Chipping Sodbury Music Society who generously donated prizes for the raffle, the proceeds of which will enable us to continue putting on live music events of such high quality in the town. We also had not one but two photographers who recorded the whole event for us, Rich McD and also Alex Millichamp from AIM Photos. Adam Greenslade performed his usual magic with the lighting effects and the Town Hall staff once again looked after us admirably.
8 December 2016