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The Royal Air Force Squadronaires can rightly lay claim to being one of the UK's most historically important big bands, and judging by the vibrancy of Helping the Heroes (Jazz Specific, 2012), undoubtedly one of the very best. A showcase for vocalist Todd Gordon and The Royal Air Force Squadronaires' impressive collective voice, that album is being launched in 2013 in several European countries as well as Canada, Australia South Korea and Japan under the new title Evergreen, no doubt in reference to the longevity of a band that first recorded for Decca 70 years ago.
"My Favorite Things" is the single chosen to promote the album, but in truth, any of the thirteen tracks would have done the job just as well. Gordon is joined by vocalist Erin Dickinsfounding member of The Manhattan Transfer and the two blend well in a swinging rendition of the 1959 hit by Richard Rogers and Oscar Hammerstein. It's an enjoyable sampler, but the real treasures are to be found on the full CD, which shows off the RAFS at its rip-roaring best.
Personnel: Todd Gordon: vocals; Erin Dickens: vocals; The Royal Air Force Squadronaires: Sgt Kev Miles: leader, drums; SAC Ben Godfrey: trumpet; Sgt Paul Sutton: trumpet; Cpl Michael McGowan: trumpet; SAC Andrew Lofthouse: trumpet; Cpl Steve Bennett: trumpet; Sgt Andy Hooley: saxophone; SAC Mike Hearman: saxophone; SAC Andy Mears: saxophone; Cpl George Martin: saxophone; Chief Technician Suzanne Faithful: saxophone; Cpl Hamish Dean: trombone; SAC Jonathan Pippen: trombone; SAC Jonathan Hill: trombone; SAC Adam Smith: trombone; FS Grant Charleston: guitar; Sgt Adrian Beckwith: piano; Sgt Andy Rigby: bass.
Years ago now--in Rhodesia--listening to Voice of America with Willis Conover I heard Bunk Johnson play When The Saints Go Marching In, and Billie Holiday sing Don't Explain. I knew then there was no other life for me than jazz.