Kent Messenger Group Newspapers

Sound so pure and original

THE WOODVILLE Halls audience could have closed its Spanish Eyes and been convinced that the legendary Bert Kaempfert orchestra was back in business.

Bert died in 1980 but his languid sounds lived on in vinyl played in millions of homes worldwide.

Now the foot-tapping beat is back for real and the Gravesend fans loved it. They always knew that like Glenn Miller and James Last, Kaempfert conjured a sound that was uniquely his.

Bert's daughter Marion and his lead trumpet in the 1970s Tony Fisher have put together an all-British orchestra of freelance musicians who come very close to reproducing the original.

That distinctive click bass guitar beat - brilliantly played by Dave Richmond - brought back a flood of musical memories to a large audience.

All the well-known tunes were there: Afrikaan Beat, A Swingin' Safari, Red Roses for a Blue Lady, Danke Schoen and Bye Bye Blues. Most of them, including the million-selling Strangers in the Night, were penned by Kaempfert himself.

Beatier numbers showed off the orchestra's versatility, and there was a tribute to Bert's discovery of the Beatles in Hamburg with George Harrison's Something.

Tony Fisher, the only Kaempfert original, was an ideal, easy-going front man. His knowledge has obviously been crucial in recapturing the magic that was last heard in the Royal Albert Hall shortly before Bert's premature death at 56.

The main difference is the size of the string section, down from 40 in Bert's day to six. But they complemented the brassier trumpets, sax and trombones, one of which was played by ex-Geraldo man Chris Dean.

The Bert Kaempfert Orchestra is hoping to play other Kent venues after its current British tour. Not to be missed.

By Trevor Sturgess

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