With an unparalleled reputation across the UK, Europe and beyond, for 50 years the Pasadena Roof Orchestra have been re-creating the sounds of a golden era of music from the 1920s and 1930s to widespread acclaim.
Enjoy beautifully arranged songs from Irving Berlin, Ray Noble, Cole Porter and their contemporaries and re-live the electrifying hot jazz from Fletcher Henderson and Duke Ellington.
Presenting the show, and putting on the top hat and tails, is the suave singer and band leader Duncan Galloway. So pack up your troubles, come on get happy, and experience an evening of superlative live music, with more than a dash of wit and humour.
"It is said that if some Pasadena Roof Orchestra tunes are floating past her window, the Queen is not displeased" - The Daily Telegraph
"An evening of rare musical entertainment" - The Financial Times
"For the PRO I have nothing but praise, they brilliantly evoked an array of 20’s and 30’s musical styles" - The Sunday Telegraph
So where does the music of the Pasadena Roof Orchestra fit? It isn’t ‘pop’ (though some of it was). It isn’t contemporary ‘jazz’, though its roots are in jazz and dance music. It isn’t ‘classical’, yet it draws on the past for its material, in particular the classic jazz repertoire from Duke Ellington (long featured on BBC Radio 3), music from the Great American Songbook and the likes of Gershwin, Porter, Berlin, Kern, which have become ‘standards’ in their own right, as have wonderful songs from Ray Noble, Hoagy Carmichael and a host of famous names.
This music is as good as the twentieth century has to offer. In its way, this is the classical music of the twentieth century. Listen to the sounds that grew out of New Orleans, New York and 1920s Europe. The growling trumpet, the muted trombone, the wailing saxophone and the clarinet glissando over the driving sounds of the rhythm section. The spot-light sharp focused on the vocalist at the microphone, crooning “Whatever hearts may desire, whatever fate may send....”. You’ll hear the sweet side in Paddlin’ Madelin’ Home and Me & Jane in a Plane. But now Cotton Club Stomp heats up the atmosphere before the supercharged sound of Cab Calloway’s Minnie the Moocher brings the house down. Over its 50 year history, the orchestra has built an un-matched library of music. Some of the arrangements are note-for-note as played by Ellington, Fletcher Henderson, Noble, Jack Hylton or other classic outfits of the period. Many are their own special arrangements, crafted in the style. It takes a special skill to change the attitude from a twenties ‘Charleston’ sound over to the ‘uptown swing’ of an arrangement from Duke Ellington or Fletcher Henderson from the early ‘30s. Of course it helps to have the right kind of period instrument and to have painstakingly researched the style. But it is the jazz spirit and passion of each member of the orchestra which brings the music alive. But is it all nostalgic recreation? Not if nostalgia is merely a wistful, sentimental yearning for times past.
For 50-years the Orchestra has vividly captured an atmosphere, a mood which is stylish and elegant, yet forceful and vivacious; but above all, life-affirming good fun!