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Reviewers: Don Mather, Dick Stafford, Marc Bridle, John Eyles, Ian Lace, Colin Clarke, Jack Ashby



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GERALDO

& His Orchestra

I Bring to You Sweet Music

LIVING ERA CD AJA 5558

 

 

    1. Hello Again
    2. I Bring You Sweet Music
    3. Lady of Spain
    4. Carioca
    5. What a Difference a Day Made
    6. The Chestnut Man
    7. September in the Rain
    8. Ave Sin Rumbo
    9. Deep Purple
    10. Small Fry
    11. The Lambeth Walk
    12. Woodland Symphony
    13. Blue Champagne
    14. Poinciana
    15. Soft Shoe Shuffle
    16. The Dancer at the Fair
    17. Walkin’ by the River
    18. Rhapsody for Reeds
    19. In Charlie’s Footsteps
    20. Artistry in Rhythm
    21. Eager Beaver
    22. Getting Nowhere
    23. Sleepy Serenade
    24. Taps Miller
    25. Till Then

Geraldo always employed the very best of musicians, he had a policy of delivering high quality musical performances, whatever the genre of the music to be played. Like Ted Heath, who played in Geraldo’s Orchestra on some of the tracks on this record, he was a strict disciplinarian who would have no nonsense if it affected the quality of performance.

I found it amazing that so many of his sidemen became band leaders in their own right, Harry Hayes, Nat Temple, George Evans, Ted Heath, Eric Delaney, Harry Gold and trumpeter Eddie Calvert are just a sample! Geraldo was also a very astute businessman and his agency work meant that he supplied bands to every British cruise line, to the extent that the musician’s were known as Geraldo’s navy.

He always tried to be ahead of public taste, firstly by introducing Latin American music to the UK and then anticipating the need for a larger swing based dance and concert band.

The music on this record dates from 1933 to 1948, the orchestra of course ran for much longer, and he was still active in the 1960’s and gave occasional concerts right up to 1970. He died in 1974, whilst on holiday in Switzerland.

A key figure in his band was his brother Sid Bright, like Geraldo (or Gerald Bright, which was his real name) he was a pianist. Sid was also an excellent arranger and it was his work for his brother that gave the band it’s distinctive sound.

The record, which has been enhanced by some excellent work by the LIVING ERA team presents the band in many of it’s phases, dance band to Latin band, to ‘pop’ band of the day and to big swing band. The later bands benefit from the excellent drumming of Eric Dalaney.

Not being a great fan of vintage dance bands, it was the post-war recordings I found most interesting Rhapsody for Reeds still sounds remarkably fresh and the Ivor Mairants tribute to Charlie Christian ‘In Charlie’s Footsteps’ shows what a master of the guitar Ivor was. The 1946 session which included Artistry in Rhythm and Eager Beaver from the Kenton library, demonstrates that the band was well up to dealing with what was regarded as advanced material in those days. The Basie style arrangement of Taps Miller shows the band in fine form, I particularly liked the saxes, lead by the redoubtable Dougie Robinson and with Keith Bird another fine musician on Tenor.

Many of Geraldo’s singers went on to great things Jim Dale and Eve Boswell, although from a later era of the band than is represented here, became stars in their own right. Ten vocalists are included on the album including Monte Rey, Carole Carr, Al Bowlly and Cavan O Connor.

Geraldo was an important figure in the music world and this collection of his work will, I am sure, bring back a lot of happy memories.

Don Mather

 



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