REVIEW: Andy Abraham’s History Of The Big Bands - Sheffield Lyceum

Soul swinger: Andy Abraham
Soul swinger: Andy Abraham
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SOUL man Andy Abraham is swinging to a different beat on his latest tour with a super smooth tribute to the big bands - complete with a 13-piece orchestra, writes digital editor Graham Walker.

The two hours-plus show is a sentimental journey down memory lane showcasing the likes of Duke Ellington, Artie Shaw, Harry James, Tommy Dorsey, Benny Goodman, Glenn Miller, Buddy Rich and more.

Smooth: Andy Abraham

Smooth: Andy Abraham

But does Abraham give the Rat Pack sound the X Factor?

You bet he does, with his own velvet-voiced style of crowd-pleasing hits which will be forever associated with the likes of Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davies Junior and Bobby Darin.

His version of Michel Buble’s Cry Me A River opens the night in dramatic Bond-esque style, with highlights including show-stopping performances of Mr Bojangles, Mack The Knife and Me and Mrs Jones - the song which won him millions of fans as runner-up on X Factor.

Abraham, who has sold in excess of half a million records, also thrilled the Lyceum crowd with a taste of new material - in the big band style - from his new Eliot Kennedy produced and made in Sheffield album, Remember When.

Smooth: Andy Abraham.

Smooth: Andy Abraham.

In truth he was is little under used in the first half of this production, where he’s as much narrator as singer and co-star to Brian Hill’s well rehearsed big band.

Not that swing aficionados will complain.

This band, with swinging rhythms and lush orchestrations, is polished and tight, delivering a near faultless set list of some of the best of the swing era.

Hill and his men do a first clas job of recreating the toe-tapping tunes of the great bands, from Benny Goodman’s Sing Sing Sing and Tommy Dorsey’s Opus One to a medley of Glen Miller classics and a quirky tribute to Britain’s late, great Johnny Dankworth, with his witty pastiche Three Blind Mice.

For more dates visit www.historyofthebigbands.com and the official Andy Abraham web site at www.andyabraham.com. Tickets line 08453 31 30 31.

* Abraham will next perform in the area at a Star backed Party In The Park outdoor charity concert with Sheffield’s own swing singer Paul Pashley and his 17-piece big band, singer-songwriter Philippa Hanna and more, in aid of Bluebell Wood Children’s Hospice and Ashgate Hospice, at Bakewell Showground on Saturday, September 1, 2012. Entertainment provided by LGI Enterprises.

Tickets are £20 (adults) and £10 (under 12s). Buy from Bluebell Wood at bluebellwoodshop.co.uk or Ashgate Hospice at www.ashgatehospicevents.co.uk/bigbands/bigbands.htm. Call 01909 517 360 or 01246 568801. Tickets also available from the charities’ shops in Bakewell.