Bert Kaempfert Orchestra Marlowe Theatre

A tribute just oozing with class

PUT TOGETHER as a living tribute to the highly-talented German, who died in 1980, the Bert Kaempfert Orchestra are the biggest on the road today.

Tony Fisher, Kaempfert's lead trumpet for many years, heads four other trumpets, four trombones, four reeds, four strings, keyboard, guitar, bass guitar, drums-and a four-piece backing vocal group.

But this now all-British band, as Fisher proudly pointed out, are also the quietest around. Kaempfert's skill lay not only in his composing of many successful and catchy numbers, but in his unique arranging style.

The relaxed Kaempfert sound, highlighted by the bass guitar's controlled steadiness and the crisp trumpet lead, requires the sort of expertise that sounds simple, but is actually almost a lost art.

Hence another full Marlowe house - yes, there's an audience for real music - enjoyed every note of expected favourites like Soft Shoe Safari, Chanson d'Amour and Wonderland by Night.

But the band could sweat a bit if needed. Fisher was obviously delighted with their ability to punch home flag-wavers like Two O'Clock Jump and Apple Honey and he was not afraid to gave himself chances to exploit his brilliant Harry James-ish trumpet.

Obvious highlights were Cliff Hardie's immaculate trombone solo on The Way we Were and the unusual double bass-flute offerings of Roy Willox and John Whelan, who looked as though they were playing parts of the plumbing.

Every number owed much to the simply magnificent drumming of Harold Fisher.

John Evans

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