Benny Meets Artie
Benny Meets Artie
The Galaxy Orchestra
The King of Swing Meets the King of the Clarinet – A Tribute to the Big Bands of Benny Goodman and Artie Shaw.
For video of the show visit http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l4pVKhsnrtE
Bandleader Ross Wooldridge leads his acclaimed all-star orchestra in a new barn-burning show guaranteed to make feet stomp and hands clap. A multi-instrumentalist, Wooldridge has appeared in many successful stage shows and with combos throughout Ontario, including appearances with Peter Appleyard, Jeff Healey’s Jazz Wizards, and with his own sextet paying tribute to Benny Goodman.
The fifteen-piece Galaxy Orchestra, which has in its ranks some of Canada’s most professional musicians, sweeps you back in time to the exciting Swing Era, when Big Bands packed the dance and concert halls with their distinctive sounds. Two of the most famous bands were those fronted by Benny Goodman and Artie Shaw, arguably the best clarinetists of the Big Band age. With dazzling skills on the clarinet and years of experience leading the Galaxy Orchestra, Wooldridge, who has been nominated as National Jazz Award’s Clarinetist of the Year for five of the past seven years, is without a doubt the best musician to present this exciting show.
Wooldridge has recreated the best of the best of the Goodman and Shaw book, using his formidable arranging and transcription skills to capture the music and excitement of the Swing Era. Close your eyes and you’ll swear it’s Shaw and Goodman right in front of you! Both band leaders were known for creating Jazz history by introducing to the world some of the most famous jazz legends ever. So accordingly none of that will be ignored as the Galaxy Orchestra is stocked with highly regarded and accomplished instrumentalists. Delight in the classic hits of Goodman and Shaw such as: King Porter Stomp, Begin the Beguine, Let’s Dance, The Carioca, Mission To Moscow, Stardust, S’Wonderful, and of course, the Swing Era Anthem, Sing Sing Sing.
Festival organizers of the recent 2011 Port Hope All-Canadian Jazz Festival and their appreciative audience went over the moon about the Sept 28th closing performance of “Benny Meets Artie”, especially about the music and outstanding caliber of musicianship. Every number received earth shaking applause. They enthusiastically extolled content, overall stage presentation and commenting on how entertaining, informative and professional the show is. Some of the comments included: “Best group yet”, “The highlight of the Festival”, “best band the Festival has ever had”, and so on. Musical comments too, such as “fabulous brass section”, and “wonderful sax section”, “so tight, so together! “People literally gushed about the Benny Meets Artie show.”
Sample reviews of Ross Wooldridge and The Galaxy Orchestra
“One of the best gigs ever.” Benny Goodman fans could have closed their eyes and felt they were listening to that master of the licorice stick himself.” Irving Brace …London Jazz Society
“Ross Wooldridge demonstrates complete control of the clarinet” the standing-room only crowd erupted in cheers after many numbers”… Murray Charters…Brantford Expositor
“The reviews are in, and the shows were a huge HIT!!! Thanks to you and everyone involved with the production. Everyone had a great time!! Michael Grit…The Sanderson Centre, Brantford
“An entertaining show filled with pizzazz and excitement. It really swings and brings audiences to their feet” Mike Filey …Toronto Sun Columnist
“A feast for the eyes, the ears, the soul and the toe. Bandstand: a well deserved standing ovation” Alain Boisvert…CJBC Radio Canada.
“The show was really good, especially the band! You were right about Ross Wooldridge’s “tour-de-force” on (Artie Shaw’s) Carioca. John Stewart… Mississauga News
“Wooldridge did some incredible Goodman solos on clarinet” Harry Currie…Kitchener Record
“A brilliant show!!! Joh n Macklem, President, Victoria County Historical Society
“The All-Canadian Jazz Festival in Port Hope regularly closes the weekend with a Big Band that represents the finest exponents of the genre. The Galaxie All-Star Orchestra, featuring Ross Wooldridge, presented an absolutely perfect portrait of the music of Benny Goodman and Artie Shaw. The band was very tight.
Ross Wooldridge is probably the finest clarinet player in the country. Ross is intimate with the material and it’s history, and he took the audience to a place many hadn’t visited in years. They were a huge hit, and a perfect way to end a great weekend. Oh that we could have had a dance floor! John McGuirk, Music Director Port Hope All-Canadian Jazz Festival.
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