The Len Phillips Big Band returns to Eastbourne on Sunday September 9 at 3pm to play The Great American Swingbook at the Devonshire Park Theatre.
The band appeared at the Winter Garden last year with Len Goodman, and previous years in the Congress Theatre with Clare Teal, Joe Stilgoe, Gary Wilmot, Anita Harris and the late David Jacobs CBE.
Jacobs described the band as: “A marvellous orchestra masterfully directed by Joe Pettit,” and Goodman said: “As a lifelong follower of big bands, it was a joy to be up close and personal with the Len Phillips band.”
This year John Wilson Orchestra vocalist Matthew Ford will be appearing alongside his old Syd Lawrence singing partner, Eleanor Keenan. Those who watch the BBC Proms will be used to seeing singer Matthew as a regular soloist with the John Wilson Orchestra. He is also heard frequently on BBC R2’s Friday Night Is Music Night.
A former resident of the town, Matthew said: “It’s always such a pleasure to come back to Eastbourne. The town holds some special memories for me. Our time living here was great, our son was born here and the theatres are fantastic.”
Also appearing are the Hep Cat dancers bringing to life the Cotton Club and Savoy Ballroom scene of 1930s New York.
Bandleader Joe commented: “We’re all familiar with the Great American Songbook and the legacies of Cole Porter, Irving Berlin and the Gershwin’s but that only tells half the story. The backdrop to that scene of movies and musicals was a hotbed of the most swinging bands ever heard.
“Without Count Basie, Benny Goodman, Duke Ellington, Glenn Miller and our own Ted Heath, songs like Begin the Beguine, Puttin’ on the Ritz and Strike Up the Band would never have reached their full swinging potential. Throw Sinatra and Ella into the mix and we get a back catalogue of the best records ever made – Under My Skin, Fly Me to the Moon, Every Time We Say Goodbye and Summertime to name but a few. That’s the treasure chest of material we’re drawing from for this concert programme.”
Tickets £20 at www.eastbournetheatres.co.uk or 01323 412000.
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