The annual series of coffee concerts organised by the The Hague Royal Conservatorium started with a performance by its Big Band. I had put word out through one of my networks and a few friends joined me Sunday morning, 28th of September for a coffee or tea followed by the concert.
Overall, as usual, the concert was pretty good. The only problem during the first few pieces were the sound of the saxophones, trumpet, trombones. Like many people in the audience, my friends and I found the sound rather overwhelming. As this also tends to happen during concerts by the Residentie Orkest, it may be the sound system. Towards the end of this concert, the rather overwhelming presence of these instruments had diminished.
Despite this, we really enjoyed the concert which started with “Tip Toe” by Thad Jones, followed by Jimmy Guiffre’s “Four Brothers”, and Neal Hefti/Peter Herbolzheimer’s “Girl Talk”. Of these three, the rendering of “Four Brothers” impressed me the least.
One young member in the audience certainly disagreed. A very young Big Band fan piped up “Leuk, he!” (“Nice, isn’t it!”) She wanted everybody to know, how thoroughly she was enjoying it all. I’m not sure conductor John Ruocco appreciated the compliment. The audience certainly did.
“Sweet and Lovely”, a title certainly applicable to the young fan, was followed by “Too Close for Comfort”, and a version of Duke Ellington’s “Rain Check”. The concert concluded with two pieces I certainly deemed the best of the morning: “Mood Indigo” originally by Duke Ellington but in a version by Rob Pronk and the well-known “The Way You Look Tonight”, by Jerome Kern/Frank Foster.
The only really disappointing thing about this Big Band concert was, that one couldn’t hit the floor to dance to the swinging music in the Anton Philipszaal. At least, that was the opinion of my friends and me.