Tony Parker on big bands


THIS week's outpouring is about what was one of the greatest bands in the business, and yet it was never associated with either swing or big-band jazz.

When the news first broke that the sounds of the late Bert Kaempfert were to be relaunched, in the shape of an orchestra under the direction of former Ted Heath trumpeter Tony Fisher, it was at first greeted with mixed reactions.

Was this going to be yet another ghost outfit trading under the name of its late leader, asked many Kaempfert devotees, or was there, perhaps, a chance that this venture could be a little different?

Well, anyone who has seen and heard this marvellous band in action - made up from the cream of British musicians - can only arrive at one conclusion; the latter is certainly the case.

The trouble with most of the ghost bands around at the moment is that, although many of the original musicians might still be playing and using the band's original arrangements, the absence of the famous leader always proves to be both the stumbling block and the missing factor.

There are, however, exceptions to the rule, with the Ted Heath Band probably proving to be the prime example.

Another, now, is the Kaempfert sound. In association with Marion, Bert Kaempfert's daughter, Levenshulme-born Tony Fisher, who was lead trumpet for 12 years in Bert's band, and one of the most respected musicians in the business, has set about blowing the dust off those carefully stored original scores.

It is also proof that in the case of Tony, Marion made the right decision in her selection of leader. This highly-talented musician takes on the role of band leader to the full; not merely content with fronting and instructing the orchestra, he also plays a instrumental part - if you'll pardon the pun - with this contributions on trumpets and flugelhorn.

On "The Bert Kaempfert Orchestra"(MKP 1610-2) all 16 tracks on the album were composed by Kaempfert himself - proof, as if it were needed, of his prolific writing skills - and includes such numbers as "Swingin' Safari", "Remember When", "Spanish Eyes", "Afrikaan Beat" and the ubiquitous "Strangers in the Night".

So, if you haven't yet had the chance to see the reformed Kaempfert band in action, and you require firm evidence of its quality, then get hold of a copy of this new album. One thing is certain: any prior doubts about ghost outfits will be instantly spirited away.

This CD can be obtained at the band's concerts, or by writing to the Bert Kaempfert Orchestra, PO Box 389, Banstead, Surrey SM7 1RT.

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