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Syd Lawrence Orchestra, at Solihull Arts Complex

THE SLO calls itself The Best Big Band in the Land.

THE SLO calls itself The Best Big Band in the Land. I wouldn’t dispute that claim although I suppose other bands like the Glenn Miller Orchestra UK might have something to say about it.

Unquestionably, the SLO is a very professional outfit which can put on a great show, based mainly, but not exclusively, on hits of the swing era. So, plenty of Miller, Goodman, Basie etc.

But there was also in last Friday’s concert a touch of the classical, with music from Gershwin’s An American in Paris. The SLO, directed by trombonist Chris Dean, thrives on musical variety.

Singer Eleanor Keenan (returning to Solihull after appearing with the Midland Youth Jazz Orchestra (MYJO) at the same venue a few weeks earlier) was heard at her best, I thought, on the wistful Fool on the Hill.

She was also an important (only female) member of the close harmony group formed from within the band, which performed good old favourites like I’ve Got a Gal In Kalamazoo and Chattanooga Choo Choo. Marvellous stuff!

Two of the youngest musicians in the band were members of MYJO: Dave Tandy, standing in for the regular SLO drummer, and Tom Dunnett on trombone. Both did well.

 

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