Review: BBC Big Band, Corn Exchange
I’m not generally a fan of amplified music, preferring the natural sounds from the instruments, allowing the intricacies and nuances of the music to be distinct. However the BBC Big Band, in common with most big bands, obviously likes a big noise and that is certainly what they provided on Sunday evening.
Music was a selection from favourites in the repertoire including pieces from Count Basie, Duke Ellington and Benny Goodman up to a relatively modern piece from the 60’s, all skilfully arranged (several by the music director Barry Forgie) to suit the make up of the band.
Various instruments were featured in solos by members of the band with one unusual instrument being a flugelbone as a substitute for a valve trombone, neither of which are often played. A solo on the vibraphone was almost lost due to an over exuberant drummer unfortunately, but a second fared much better and the excellent performance could be enjoyed.
Claire Martin joined the band to provide some variety, with arrangements of favourite songs from people such as Ella Fitzgerald and Susan Vaughan. At times her lower register was lost but mostly she blended well with the band and they clearly have a good rapport together. Diction was also a problem at times although this was possibly due to the amplification used. The songs were well known, however, so the detraction was slight.
A rousing evening of well-known and well-loved tunes is probably the best way to describe the concert which the audience certainly seemed to appreciate.