Maturity makes for great Dorsey show

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The Tommy Dorsey Orchestra.
The Tommy Dorsey Orchestra.

WHAT: The Tommy Dorsey Orchestra
WHERE: Civic Theatre
WHEN: Thursday night
REVIEWED BY: Jill Nicholas

"What a lot of grey heads," was the comment that wafted from the row behind.

What else did the owner of that unidentified voice expect?

The hair colour went with the age territory of those who'd come to journey down the swing era's memory lane.

Nor did it escape notice the set of five sax men in this re-take of the late, great Tommy Dorsey Orchestra aren't in the first flush of youth either.

To be the outstanding players of the genre that they are they'd certainly have had to be born pre rock 'n roll.

Maturity's made them all the better musicians for it.

Fresh off the plane from the US, Rotorua was the curtain-raiser for the New Zealand tour by this 15-piece version of the big band of the 30s and 40s, with accompanying vocalists and dancers, some recognisable from the Glenn Miller concert of a few months back.

Under the relaxed leadership of musical director, Terry Myers, these accomplished instrumentalists performed as Dorsey would have demanded, tossing in Benny Goodman and Arty Shaw tributes.

Described by swing maestro Buddy Morrow as "one of the best all round reed [clarinet] players", Myers proved he remains so and the haunting sounds that flowed from his tenor sax were pure class.

True professional that he is, a knee-high moon boot failed to keep Myers off his feet for much of the show.

Vocalist Bryan Anthony was a satisfying Sinatra substitute but who will ever truly replicate the cocoa-warm style of the crooner's early years?

For their farewell piece the orchestra played to local sentiments with Now Is The Hour, a popular choice with the grey brigade who know a good night's entertainment when it comes their way.

- Rotorua Daily Post

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