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Audience members enjoy an evening of trumpet greats

Arts and EntertainmentAudience members enjoy an evening of trumpet greats

Franklin Penny, a well-known trumpet player and vocalist, and the award-winning Burlington band, Sophisticated Swing, teamed up to pay tribute to the traditional commercial pop trumpet players from the Big Band Era and beyond, during the Saluting Trumpet Greats concert at the Sanderson Centre on Wednesday, February 21, 2024.

Penny and Sophisticated Swing were joined by several special guests including Sheila Brand, a star vocalist from London’s West End and Broadway, George Brasovan, a Juno Award nominee pianist, and Brantford’s own Brian and Kelly Sloat of Art in Motion (AIM) Dance Studio.

Throughout the evening the musicians brought the audience on a musical journey through time as they performed classic hits from artists like Bobby Hackett, Ray Anthony, Harry James and Chet Baker.

Not only did Penny share his extraordinary trumpet skills throughout the show, but as well, his vocal skills as he and Brand took turns singing during the concert. 

Franklin Penny performs “My Funny Valentine” during the Saluting Trumpet Greats concert on Wednesday, February 21, 2024.

In between songs, Roy Wilson, Master of Ceremonies, gave small anecdotes about the popular songs and the musicians including their upbringings, how they got their start in music, their relationships, and for Chet Baker, his struggle with addiction.

Setting the tone for the evening with a soulful number, the musicians opened with Ray Anthony’s “The Man With a Horn.”

“That number was one of many hits by Ray Anthony who was a star performer during the Big Band Era and for many years later on in television and movies,” said Roy Wilson, Master of Ceremonies. “He’s also the last surviving member of the Glen Miller Band, he’s 102-years-old and still plays trumpet.”

Brian and Kelly Sloat of AIM Dance Studio dance along as the Sophisticated Swing band members play Harry James’ “Two O’Clock Jump,” during the Saluting Trumpet Greats concert on Wednesday, February 21, 2024.

Jumping into the second song, the big band was joined on stage by the Sloat’s as they danced along to Harry James’ “Two O’Clock Jump.”

“The song is based on a variation of Count Basie’s theme song, “One O’Clock Jump” and he played that number at the close of every concert for upwards of 50 years,” said Wilson. “…’Two O’Clock Jump’ offers solos moving from section to section.”

During the first hour-long act, the audience heard several of Ray Anthony hits like “Body and Soul,” “I’ve Got My Love to Keep Me Warm,” and “Love For Sale,” as well as popular numbers from Chet Baker like “Let’s Get Lost,” “That Old Feeling,” and “Conciertio de Aranjuez.” 

Conciertio de Aranjuez was a concerto written for classical guitar in 1939 by Spanish composer, Joaquín Rodrigo, and Aranjuez is a city in Spain near Madrid,” said Wilson. “Rodrigo contracted diptheria and lost his sight when he was only three years old and began to study music at age eight, and began specializing in harmony and composition at age 16. He wrote his compositions in braille, and they were transcribed for publication.”

George Brasovan plays the piano for Chet Baker’s “My Funny Valentine” during the Saluting Trumpet Greats concert on Wednesday, February 21, 2024.

Brasovan then showed off his talents with a piano keyboard version of Baker’s recording.

To kick off the 40-minute second act, the band opened with Bobby Hackett’s “It’s All in the Game,” featuring a trumpet solo from Penny.

The musicians maintained their grip on the audience as they played classic hits like Ray Anthony’s version of “I’ve Got the World on a String,” and “Mr. Anthony’s Boogie,” where they were joined by the Sloat’s as they showed off their dancing skills. 

Sheila Brand sings along to Ray Anthony’s “I’ve Got My Love to Keep Me Warm,” during the Saluting Trumpet Greats concert on Wednesday, February 21, 2024.

The second act also included more of Chet Baker, including “My Funny Valentine,” sung by Penny with Brasovan on piano.

Wilson said that while some people think the song is romantic in nature, it’s more of a social commentary.

“A lot of people associate this song with romance and St. Valentine’s Day, but really it isn’t about that at all,” said Wilson. “The lyrics refer to the lead heroine [Billie Smith] in the stage play Babes in Arms and the lead character opposite her is named Valentine “Val” LaMarand. He doesn’t notice her affection for him and “My Funny Valentine” is her reference to his odd social behaviour, so it’s not romantic, it’s just a social comment.”

Brian and Kelly Sloat of AIM Dance Studio dance along as the Sophisticated Swing band members play Ray Anthony’s’ “Mr. Anthony’s Boogie,” during the Saluting Trumpet Greats concert on Wednesday, February 21, 2024.

Audience members also got to hear more from Harry James including”You made me Love You,” and “Traces.”

To end the night, Carl Hamilton, leader of Sophisticated Swing, said that they wanted to close with their favourite song, “Time After Time.”

 “We would like to end with one of our true favourite songs and we end a lot of shows with this and this was made a big hit by Bobby Hackett with the Jackie Gleason’s Orchestra,” said Hamilton.”

Carl Hamilton, leader of Sophisticated Swing introduces members of his band during the Saluting Trumpet Greats concert on Wednesday, February 21, 2024.

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