Double bill of delight

NO fewer than 30 top musicians entertaining in a double bill of exciting big band classics and nostalgic Abba fun can be seen at Port Elizabeth's German Club on the infamous Oktoberfest stage on October 23.

The big band, led by Deborah Everard, is a collaboration of 13 brass players, along with "the grooviest rhythm section, will create a suave, sophisticated, funky sound", Everard said.

"Reminiscent of the sound of the swing band era, the group will pay tribute to the music of big band masters with some traditional and some completely re-invented arrangements, such as a very funky rendition of Duke Ellington's standard Caravan, as recorded by pop group Chicago."

The repertoire is lively and buoyant, including a slew of sturdy solos from various players.

Out of the gate with an energetic arrangement of Gershwin's Strike Up the Band, it rumbles through the set in brassy fashion, featuring the vocal talents of Donna Africa, Jace Bowren and Thuba Myeki.

The first segment will rock out in Brian Setzer style with Wayne Kallis up front.

The big band is made up of ace trumpeters Shawn Lyon, Marlon Louis, Louis Armstrong, Nici Coleman and Lincoln Adams, with Kyle du Preez, Hayley Buncombe, Jenna Tanale and Zintle Thomas on trombone.

Phumlani Mtiti, Dillon Bhana, Andre Visser, Nicholas Barfknecht and Joshua Wiggill complete the saxophone lineup, with the highly experienced Dave Houghton on guitar, Tiago Vital on bass, Everard herself on piano and Devon van Rooyen on drums.

The second half of the evening will see the familiar Centrestage All-Star band performing a condensed highlights version of their very first big hit show, Absolutely Abba.

Fronted by Tara-Jane Metzler, Caron Strydom and Izzy van Zyl, along with Africa, the music of the super Swedes will be recreated with authentic harmonies and the keyboard-driven sounds of Fenlen Pietie and Everard.

Other Centrestage frontmen driving the Centrestage sound, are Andre Strydom on bass, Gino Fabbri on drums, with the guitar work shared by Kallis and Arno Erasmus.

The double bill is ideal family fare.

Tickets costing R120 or R100 per person for tables of eight or more, are available through Computicket with discounted tickets available at R50 for under-18s.

First swing into big band era, then wiggle to hit music of super Swedes with latest Centrestage production before Oktoberfest