Audiences connect with big band classics, says crooner

ANGELA CROMPTON
Last updated 14:13 01/07/2014

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Good energies created by big band music can be seen reflected on audience members' faces, says vocalist Bryan Anthony from the Tommy Dorsey Orchestra.

Identified as "the Kings of Swing" in the United States, the orchestra is including Blenheim in its first concert tour of New Zealand next month. Speaking on the telephone from Florida, Anthony, 36, says the orchestra keeps alive the best music to ever come out of America.

"As a singer, my genre is the American Songbook," Anthony says, then reels off legendary names like Cole Porter, George and Ira Gershwin and Irving Berlin who contributed to it in the 1920s, 30s and 40s.

Anthony says those musicians created a whole new genre of music, one he describes as timeless.

"The sentimentality behind the music and the words . . . you listen to one of these songs and you will be just as connected to the story and to the lyrics as someone who listened to it in the 1920s."

As a child he had been exposed to music by Frank Sinatra and fell in love with the stories songs could tell. After doing his undergraduate and masters degrees in New York, he did some Off-Broadway shows then went on the road with the Glenn Miller Orchestra.

He joined the Tommy Dorsey Orchestra as a permanent member 2 years ago.

Anthony says he also sings as part of a jazz trio and while he has more "freedom" in the small group it doesn't compare to the thrill when he sings in front of five saxophones, three trombones, four trumpets, piano, bass and drums.

Tommy Dorset Orchestra, July 19 at the Floor Pride Civic Theatre.

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- The Marlborough Express

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