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Oldest swinger in town Freddy back for one night only

PUBLISHED: 12:14 05 July 2012

The Manhattan Swing Band will be heading into the Queen's Theatre in Billet Lane, Hornchurch

The Manhattan Swing Band will be heading into the Queen's Theatre in Billet Lane, Hornchurch

Archant

»The big bands are back and they don’t come much bigger then Freddy Staff, one of the oldest swingers in town. Freddy Staff and his Manhattan Swing Band are on at the Queen’s Theatre, Billet Lane, Hornchurch on Sunday at 7.30pm.

As Freddy enters his 80th year in front of the band he is still hitting the high notes with his trumpet.

The young Freddy’s skill led to him sharing the stage with big names, from Tom Jones to Judy Garland, Sammy Davis Jr and Barbra Streisand. He has lead the Syd Lawrence Orchestra and the Joe Loss Band parachuted him in to do a special recording of music from the inimitable Harry James. Freddie was known as the British version of the top American jazz impresario, and can still give a master class of trumpet skills that raise the hair on the back of the neck.

Evacuated to Brentwood School during the Second World War, the band leader has a soft spot for the area, strengthened by finding his future wife who hails from Dagenham, while playing professionally in London’s East End.

The show will include the sounds of Glenn Miller, Tommy Dorsey, Woody Herman, Count Basie and of course Harry James, with the vocal gymnastics of soloist Lee Gibson with classics from Gershwin and Cole Porter.

“I can promise audiences an experience of a time when big bands ruled the air waves and dance halls,” said Freddie. “We used to play great music constantly for dancers to jig to and concerts for those who just wanted to listen. It was a time to remember and one that still surprises and thrills new and younger audiences who cannot believe their elders had such fun.”

Tickets are £18 (concessions £16.50) available from the box office on 01708 443333.

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