Tuesday, 2 August 2011
The Return of the Big Band
I wouldn't be a big band leader if I didn't stay up all night before a gig to make sure the parts are correctly printed and sellotaped. In fact, I had so much to do that I was up until 4am on both the Friday and Saturday nights before, printing music (and running out of ink) and sticking parts (and running out of sellotape).
It was all worth it, though, as this was the best gig we have played so far. In fact, it had been recommended by the Harrow Observer as the number one thing to do on that particular day!
I had managed to organise a fantastic band - the sax section included Frank Griffith, Dave O'Higgins and Sammy Mayne, and the rest of the band was equally star-studded. The main feature of this band is that it's fronted by me (on vocals and flute) and my twin sister Anna Hughes (on vocals and trumpet/flugelhorn) and I think we're the only twin-led big band in this country (please challenge this if you know otherwise!).
We played quite a few of my new arrangements which was nerve-wracking to say the least - it's very strange to hear something live, when the only opportunity I've had to hear it before is in my head or on my computer speakers with Sibelius instruments! Also, I was worried about conducting my new arrangements because, even though I knew them inside-out having been writing them for the last few months, it's a very different thing to then have to get up in front of an audience and a live band, and then to sing and perform the song, while still keeping half an ear open for the band arrangement so I knew when to conduct!
Nevertheless it was a great gig, and we had a good audience showing - although still room for about 50 more, so do come along when we next play in December.
The gig was reviewed by Steve Harris and Ian Fielding, who run the events and you can read their comments here.
Listen to a few tracks from the gig on my website.
And keep supporting weekly live jazz at Ruilsip Manor.