Ahead of their performance at City Hall in Salisbury, LISA ROCKLIFFE caught up with leader of the London Swing Orchestra, Graham Dalby.
Your band, the London Swing Orchestra, is coming to City Hall this April. What can people expect from one of your shows?
People can expect, and will get, a world class orchestra and an amazing storybook of how ragtime took America by storm and then just grew via wild jazz dance through the Roaring 20’s into the Swing explosion with Benny Goodman in the 1930’s. There’s wartime nostalgia with Glenn Miller in the second half and crooning legends of Bing Crosby, Bobby Darin and of course Frank Sinatra – who could ask for anything more!!
What are your favourite songs to perform in your repertoire and which are audience favourites?
I love all my songs but I really love to interact with the audience and get them singing the hi-de-hi chorus in Minnie the Moocher. The audience always go mad for In the Mood!
And who are your favourite artists?
Bing and Louis, Duke Ellington and Jack Hylton, Noël ‘The Master’ Coward and Cole ‘You’re the Top’ Porter – all of whom will feature in our concert.
You have performed alongside the likes of Miles Davis and Gloria Gaynor. What was that like?
Well, Gloria was headlining at the Congressehalle, Berlin at a ball for 5,000 transvestites (“at first I was afraid…”) and Miles Davis was in Norway with Manhattan Transfer . What a great buzz it was for me to meet them and be part of the same jazz festival.
You tour all over the world, which are your favourite venues to play?
The band love playing in Hong Kong – we have been there many times and Monte Carlo was fun last year. Eating kedgeree in the Throne Room, Buckingham Palace at 2am after our set was somewhat surreal too! Of course, nothing beats Salisbury – for me it’s a home game!
What have been your career highlights?
The Queen Mother’s 90th and (very honoured to be asked back) 100th birthdays (Windsor), The Hong Kong Handover, Valentino’s 75th with Annie Lennox in Rome, Royal weddings in Jordan and Monaco, in a 16th cent fort built by Magellan in Cebu…Venice, Shanghai, so many great memories…
The concert at City Hall is a fundraiser for The Trussell Trust. Can you tell us a little more about the charity?
The Trussell Trust runs a network of over 400 foodbanks, giving emergency food and support to people in crisis across the UK. 13 million people live below the poverty line in the UK and 1 in 5 mums skip meals to feed their children. Every day people go hungry for reasons ranging from redundancy to receiving an unexpected bill on a low income. In 2014-15, their network of foodbanks provided 1,084,604 three day emergency food supplies to people in crisis, with almost 400,000 of those having gone to children. Foodbanks also offer a lot more than food. Trained volunteers provide a listening ear to clients over a warm drink, as well as signposting people to other charities and agencies who can help resolve the underlying cause of the crisis and help people to break the cycle of poverty.
As well as City Hall, where else are you playing over the coming months?
We are playing at Blenheim in April and many festivals and theatres including Chalke Valley History, Upton Jazz, a big awards ceremony in London, Salute the 40’s, Chatham and a new programme at Salisbury Playhouse “Noel & Cole” in January 2017.
Tickets are £22 and are on sale now from cityhallsalisbury.co.uk.
The Trussell Trust runs a network of over 400 foodbanks, giving emergency food and support to people in crisis across the UK, where thirteen million people live below the poverty line. In the last year we gave 1,084,604 three day emergency food supplies to people in crisis.