Down For The Count: Voices Of Swing

A standing ovation for the repertoire big band perhaps underlined the enduring appeal for backward-looking Britain of 1940s culture

The Down For The Count big band

This is an oufit that just keeps on giving as they demonstrated when they returned to Cadogan Hall on Tuesday, May 24, and laid 26 numbers on an audience that responded with a standing ovation.

Trumpeter-vocalist Max Fagandini was back in the fold after some time on foreign shores and his Harry James soundalike solo on You Made Me Love You was right on the money whilst the latest addition to the vocalists, Marvin Muoneke, scored heavily on Mr. Bojangles and I’ve Got The World On A String. Reedman Alex Western-King broke out his alto and weighed in with a Bird-like Just Friends.

Among the highlights was a new grouping – voice, clarinet, trumpet – in the Eddie DeLange/Louis Alter entry Do You Know What It Means To Miss New Orleans, introduced by Billie Holiday in the 1946 movie New Orleans. Max Fagandini and Callum Gillies did everything but draw blood with the crowd-pleaser Me And My Shadow à la Frank Sinatra And Sammy Davis.

Lydia Bell is not just blessed with the finest set of pipes in the band but is among the best female vocalists for her age and weight currently working and her S’Wonderful, Nature Boy, The Nearness Of You and The Folks Who Live On The Hill, were to die for.

Before you start thinking I’m on a piece of the gate, let me register a caveat: they totally misjudged The Man That Got Away and placing it as the opener could have scuppered the whole evening given that the double time bleached all intensity out of Ira Gershwin’s fine lyric.

Luckily this was only a hiccough and the evening built steadily, culminating in two climactic encores, That’s Life and New York, New York.

A great gig.

Down For The Count: Voices Of Swing. Cadogan Hall, Sloane Terrace, Chelsea, 24 May 2022