Sat May 6th
The Snap'd Auditorium Newmarket Town Hall
a Review by
Grab your coat and get your hat and leave your worries on the doorstep and just direct your feet to the sunny side of the street.
That’s the opening line of Tommy Dorsey’s 1940s hit recording of “The Sunny Side of the Street”. This past Saturday night (May 8), the Toronto All-Star Big Band and their fantastic group of vocalists had the crowd at the Newmarket Theatre bouncing with the big band sounds of Benny Goodman, Lester Browne, the Andrew Sisters and the Glenn Miller Band.
This assembly of young musicians, aged 15 to 22, performed an outstanding two-hour high-calibre performance that brought the big band era back to the 21st century. When the female vocalist strode on stage to belt out the Ella Fitzgerald classic “A Tisket a Tasket,” Ella herself would have been proud. When the band swung into the Glenn Millar classic “Little Brown Jug” the audience responded with a round of applause. By the time the three female vocalists performed the Andrews Sisters World War Two hit “Boggie Woogie Bugle Boy,” they had the joint jumping, literally jumping. At the end of the first act the appreciative audience gave the band a standing ovation.
Their announcer, whom they referred in the program as the “Compere,” not only introduced each number and song, but he gave a brief history of the selection, and told the audience who the composer was, the first recording, who recorded the number and some background on the band or vocalist that had recorded the tune the very first time.
You didn’t have to be a fan of the Big Band Era, or the vocalists -- to just hear those old chestnuts played again by a group of young musicians who just loved to play them, would please and satisfy any music aficionado!
When you see musicians on the bandstand rocking back and forth, smiling and jawing at each other between their sections, all while the featured artist is playing, you know they are really into it! And these young musicians just cooked! When the soloist came out and nailed the Joe Williams’ standard “All Right, OK You win” and the classic Louis Prima number “Just a Gigolo,” the audience got into it and just couldn’t help joining in the chorus. The Cab Calloway song “Minnie the Moocher,” with its chorus of" Hi De Ho" made famous in the 1980s “Blues Brothers” movie, just brought the house down.
The Benny Goodman number “Sing Sing Sing” featured a drum solo with the drummer drumming on the tom tom, then floor tom, and then the rim of the snare drum and then he left the drum set and drummed on the floor, the microphone, the stairs, he went into the audience and drummed up and down the aisle of the theatre, on the seats and he ran back on stage got on the drum set and kept the beat going the whole time.
The band plays about 80 dates a year so to find out where they are playing visit their web site www.torontoallstarbigband.com and go see them -- you’ll be glad you did and hey, ‘Reet.. everything is alllll right Jackson!!’