REVIEW:The Pasadena Roof Orchestra, The Concorde, Eastleigh

JAZZ Hands was given a trial run at Eastleigh’s Concorde Club which has become an international jazz mecca.

But it is unlikely to take off among the club’s jazz aficionados who preferred the traditional method of applauding rather than the silent approach.

Jazz Hands involves waving both hands in the air as a silent substitute for applause. It has hit the national headlines after Manchester University students union voted to ban clapping to avoid alarming audience members who don’t like loud noises.

As an experiment Tom Spats Langham of The Pasadena Roof Orchestra asked the audience to show their approval with a display of jazz hands after the instrumental East St Louis Toodle-Oo – the first charting single for the Duke Ellington Orchestra in 1927.

But the Concorde audience gave the thumbs down to Jazz Hands by instead responding with a loud round of applause.

Spats was standing in for regular Pasadena front man Duncan Galloway, switching from his traditional role of banjo playing to vocals. Although he did treat us to a stunning banjo solo.

He was also master of ceremonies, giving between numbers a fascinating and witty history of jazz.

In the roaring twenties and thirties many hotels had roof gardens with their own orchestras. Hence the name Pasadena Roof Orchestra which next year celebrates its 50 th anniversary and has become world famous for its distinctive delivery of sizzling hot dance music.

It has played in most of the major concert houses in Europe, toured the USA four times, recorded more than 40 albums, and provided sound tracks for films like Just a Gigolo starring David Bowie and Marlene Dietrich.

In 2010 the legendary orchestra was the star turn at the Buckingham Palace Christmas Party and they have worked alongside a galaxy of stars including Robbie Williams and Bryan Ferry.

Making a welcome return to the Stoneham Lane club the 11 piece ensemble, impeccably dressed in dinner suits, gave a master class in jazz from the most exciting period of its genre.

Over two sets they breezed through a back catalogue of George Gershwin, Cole Porter, Irving Berlin, Duke Ellington and Ray Noble.

Spats stepped out in style with Fats Waller’s I’m Crazy ‘Bout My Baby which set the tone for a lively evening with the playlist including Puttin on the Ritz, The Very Thought of You, Got A Date With An Angel, Anything Goes, High Society, Cheek to Cheek and If I Had a Talking Picture of You.

The second set was a big treat for Bing Crosby fans with Happy Feet, Just One More Chance and the American crooner’s signature tune Where The Blue of the Night Meets the Gold of The Day.

There were torrents of praise as The Pasadena Orchestra rounded off the night with Singing In The Rain and its theme tune, Home In Pasadena.

But there was not a Jazz Hand in sight.

Duncan Eaton