RED ROSES IN FULL BLOOM
In TONY FISHER's theatre dressing room, immediately after this capacity-audience concert on Easter Sunday, the ex-Kaempfert trumpeter - who is now the musical director of his late employer's legacy - told me: "Despite the TED HEATH, DON LUSHER and SYD LAWRENCE bands, I have the best musical outfit in the country".
It's probably safe to say that no one would disagree with Tony's sentiments. It has to be recorded that there was no axe to grind on the part of Tony Fisher with this statement (for he's played with all three of these bands in the past), just a deeply conviction.
As for the members of his audience, well, from the very first strains of the opening number, 'Swingin' Safari', he had them eating out of his hand as the 21-piece orchestra faithfully recreated the instantly-recognisable Bert Kaempfert sound. With the added bonus of strings, vocalists and marvellous acoustics, plus the original arrangements, Tony was obviously in his element as he led his musicians through only a small section of the vast Kaempfert repertoire.
Time was obviously a vital factor, for there is only so much that can be achieved in the space of a couple of hours or so, which makes it virtually impossible to illustrate the full extent of the man's work. Having said that, however, it wasn't for the want of trying on Tony Fisher's part. In his programme he included many of the Kaempfert classics such as 'Bye Bye Blues', 'Spanish Eyes', 'Red Roses for a Blue Lady' and 'Strangers in the Night'. Also, not being able to keep a good big-band man down, Tony slipped in for good measure a fair portion of Kaempfert-arranged numbers such as 'Mr Anthony's Boogie', 'Take the A Train' and 'Apple Honey'.
As this was the orchestra's first visit to Buxton, he took the opportunity to introduce his audience to Bert's daughter Marion. With the applause that both she and her father's music received, there's a sneaking suspicion that both will be back at the venue in the not-too-distant future.