LETSwing have been in business for a long time. They can really get people dancing - usually from the first number! They started as a band for the Brixton LETS (Local Exchange Trading System) St Valentine's dance 1996 and have not stopped since. They now do quite a lot of work for Music In Hospitals, corporate functions, private parties, weddings, and .... were the dance band for the World Congress of Music Therapy in 2003. The name suggests they only play swing, but in fact play a wide range of styles - many standards, ska, bluebeat, reggae, general old-fashioned pop, some carribean things, some almost classical pieces, and their own compositions - which are surprisingly varied. Steve Barbe lead singer, Hanna Heissenbuetel gtr, Hugh Harris sax, Mark Treasure bass - and on some occasions Gabriele Gad piano.
When Gabriele Gad needed a band to perform the music for her Bonnington Square musical (about a bunch of hippies), she asked people around Bonnington Square and people associated with Bonnington Square to help her out. She got some local people and two members of LETSwing for the job, and so the band is called the Bonnington 4. Lineup Gabriele Gad pno, Steve Barbe various and flute, Martin Adair bass, Hugh Harris alto. This band will play most of the pieces from the musical (and hopefully some more stuff), and
these people will sing the songs they sang as part of the cast of the Bonnington Square musical - both soloists and chorus.
You won't be disappointed. Gabriele's musical writings are of a very high quality.
There is a snippet of a very old recording of Gabriele Gad and Hugh Harris playing 'A Separate Reality' on www.poffle.com in the document called 'chord sequences with titles'. Gabriele wrote this and many other equally good pieces. She is a pianist of the old jazz school.
I do not know if Gabriele Gad and Hugh Harris will be doing any of the old-fashioned jazz they used to perform regularly in the Bonnington Cafe, but if they do: - the style is very old-fashioned and not at all Coltrane (etc), much more Fats Waller and Johnny Hodges in style. The cafe used to be jammed with people when they were playing there.
Hugh Harris was a founder of the original Palm Court Jazz which started in 1981 and played to audiences of yuppies (remember them?) and others throughout the eighties. They mainly played Charlestons, although gradually a few of Hugh's compositions crept in - and some Ellington, Carmichael, etc. by popular request. Pinocolladas (a delicious and innocent-tasting cocktail that knocks your block off) seemed to be served on almost every gig they did for some years, almost as though this was the standard hospitality, and they didn't always go home sober. Towards the end of the eighties the PCJ activities began to drop off and in 1990 he joined both The Limehous Jazz Band and a suburban rock'n'roll band called Red River Rock (how original!) for three years, then tried a selection of rock'n'roll outfits, and three years later started doing the LETSwing thing. He is both a player and a writer of music, and specialises in playing 'by ear'. Plays saxophone and some piano.
Jezzer writes his own material and is to be heard on the Radio Suffolk site. His music is always something you can play without having to learn elaborate and pretentious chord sequences, his words can be deep, and he plays in a relaxed and friendly style. Plays all over East Anglia. Might have other players with him.
(Bruce Richmond and Gary Richardson)
The Rich List (who are about as far from rich as you can get) are from the Western part of the British Isles, and when we discussed this I was given to believe that they do not want people to know which town they come from. OK. Not telling, so there. I've heard them do some very nice work, and that is all I dare say.
They will probably ask Hugh Harris to play saxophone (or even piano) with them on some numbers.
Steve Barbe, who is the lead singer of LETSwing, also has his own act, and so he will be performing some of his stuff in this show. As he is fairly predominant throughout the show (being in LETSwing and the Bonnington 4, and a singer from the Bonnington Square musical), I will not write more about him here.
4 August 2008, updated 13 August 2008.