August 17, 2011
We Are Cunard
Posted in: Queen Mary 2
The importance of having the largest ball room afloat on RMS Queen Mary 2 was emphasised recently when guests packed into the Queen’s room and filled the dance floor to capacity for a dance extravaganza of Big Band Music.
Under the direction of Joey Mix the 14pc orchestra featured vocalist John Labelle and clarinetist Kenny Martyn performed swing favourites from Count Basie, Buddy Rich, Ted Heath and Glenn Miller.
Kenny Martyn’s thirty minute set featured some of the original arrangements from Benny Goodman’s library which were performed at the famous Carnegie Hall concert in February 16th 1938. The importance of this concert is widely recognised as the defining moment of American culture when jazz and swing music was legitimately defined within American culture for all races.
The origins of Swing music are very involved but undoubtedly, Fletcher Horace Henderson’s arrival in New York in 1920 as a newly qualified chemist from New Orleans, unable to obtain any pharmaceutical position is critical. He formed his own band, which featured a remarkable line up of Lester Young, Bessie Smith and Louis Armstrong. The new sound that was first created in Fletcher’s 1924 composition ‘Sugar Foot Stomp’ was ‘Swing’ – a new era had been born and it was Fletcher one decade later who engineered the Goodman sound to create the ‘King of Swing’.
Playing this music is my passion and being able to play with the original line up of 5 brass, 4 saxes, 4 rhythm – is always special. I ‘m very lucky to have the chance to play here on the Queen Mary 2 following in the Cunard traditions of Joe Loss, Count Basie and Duke Ellington who were playing regularly on Queen Elizabeth 2. What should be noted is that EVERY single musician we have here is TOP class, the brass section crackles, the saxes play pretty, and the rhythm section swings.
Thank you Cunard