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A Perfect foot-tapping evening swing down memory lane

Contrary to popular belief, there is such a thing as the perfect evening out. I experienced it on the night I saw Jonny Cooper direct the official South African Glenn Miller Band at the Roxy Revue Bar.

The evening started at the Bukhara - where the scrumptious food is only surpassed by the great service - and if this sounds like a tag line to advertise this establishment, then so be it. It deserves it. When one leaves the restaurant, designer doggie box in hand, having shared good food and good company, all one can think of is how one is going to enjoy its contents later.

Roxy Revue Bar is, as usual, one of the best venues for this kind of show - fitted with the best sound and sophisticated lighting rigs. As we took our seats, one of the patrons next to my friend, Lee said "you don't look like Glenn Miller chaps." Strange comment, what does a Glenn Miller "chap" look like, we wondered?

Of course, as the curtain rose on that full stage - more than 20 people occupying the stage at any given time, we were the ones who knew most of the songs - even better than the Glenn Miller "chaps" I think - singing along merrily and cheering louder than most.

And what a show it was - as per usual - sophistication and class throughout, yet with a chatty script that Cooper himself uses to engage his audience.
He never goes overboard with the facts about the band or about swing for that matter - just the necessary tidbits, enough to keep it interesting and serve as perfect link between songs.

The repertoire includes most of the favourites (Moonlight Serenade, Chattanooga Choo Choo, In The Mood, among a host of other greats) that had everyone singing and humming along, toe-tapping and finger-snapping - as only swing can do.

But this was more than just the genre of music. This was about the people in attendance, about the tight outfit that is the Jonny Cooper Big Band and about the Moonlight Serenaders who sing so unutterably beautifully.

And what a fantastic surprise to see Brian Heydenrych on stage - singing like a dream.

Whether you like swing or not. On second thoughts, whether you like music or not does not even matter - this is the kind of show that is as romantic as it is entertaining. It is the sort of show you respond to with your heart and your instincts.

It is like receiving a perfectly wrapped bunch of mixed flowers - all your favourites. And, as they take their own shape in your vase you wish they could last longer than just a few days.

That is when one picks up a copy of the CD that they sell at the show, as one hums one's way out of the theatre.

Reviewed by Rafiek Mammon
Cape Times
Tuesday February 21st 2006.

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