Sunday, 29 April 2018

Music, Maestro, Please

No, it's not Venice, nor even Venice Beach - it's just off Chelsea's Sloane Square!

Last night, Madam Arcati and I went "way up West" - to the upmarket environs of Belgravia, no less [the locale around which Upstairs Downstairs was based].

The reason for our trip? I had spotted online Midnight in Mayfair, an event at the impressive Cadogan Hall (pictured above), that was advertised thus:
Keith Nichols and his Mayfair Orchestra take us back to the 1920s and ’30s when the great British dance bands performed at London’s exclusive clubs and great hotels; Carroll Gibbons and Fred Elizalde at the Savoy, Sydney Lipton at the Grosvenor House, Lew Stone at the Monseigneur, Jack Jackson at the Dorchester, Henry Hall on the BBC and Ambrose at the Mayfair. Their bandsmen and singers such as Al Bowlly, Sid Phillips, Tiny Winters, George Chisholm and Nat Gonella soon became household names.
Understandably, I could not resist booking us tickets...

I am so pleased I did. It was a brilliant evening of perfectly-arranged period dance band numbers, beautifully precise vocals, and the sheer entertainment value of watching (from a very good vantage point) a group of obvious enthusiasts for this lost world putting their every effort into the performance - thoroughly enjoying themselves in the process!

Here are some examples of the talents of [several of] last night's players:

With the assembled talents of trumpeters Enrico Tomasso, Andy Schumm and Duke Heitger, trombonists Jim Fryer and Alistair Allen, saxophones and clarinets by Robert Fowler, Lars Frank, Richard Exall and Jean-François Bonnel, violinists Emma Fisk, Dawn Allen and Jessica Graham, Martin Litton on the piano (often duetting with Keith Nichols), banjoist Martin Wheatley, Malcolm Sked on double-bass, the fantabulosa drummer Richard Pite and the marvellous vocalists the glamorous Janice Day and the multi-talented Thomas "Spats" Langham (at times paying suitable homage to Al Bowlly, at times playing the banjo), it was simply the very best way to spend a Saturday night I could imagine.

I'll be looking out for more Mr Nichols' entertaining evenings in future...


  1. Oh, wow!
    Thank you for this, Jon. xx

    1. It was lovely; glad you enjoyed it! (Unfortunately, the show is unlikely to travel as far as Queensland...)


  2. Fabulous! Reminds me of why I tried to learn the saxophone! Maybe I should dig it out again and have another blow?

    1. It's never too late for "The Joy of Sax". Jx

  3. Gosh they were wonderful, pure heaven !


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