Wednesday, October 28, 2009

John Miller - Nephew of Glenn Miller - a REVIEW

It's our luck that John Miller who leads a great band in England, and is the nephew of Glenn Miller just returned today from Spain with this great review of his band. We are the very first to see this glowing report of one of Europe's finest big bands. Read it through and enjoy!

As always with Saga Holiday trips, the hotel was great, the food excellent and the staff wonderful.

John Miller with Peanuts Hucko

We go on lots of Saga Holidays and they have never disappointed.

To say that the holiday with The John Miller Orchestra was the best holiday we have had, ever, would be an understatement. We went principally to hear the Big Band of course, there's nothing like the sound of a good big band in full flight, but the experience was so much more. We've watched and loved all the major Bands over the years, but never dreamed we could get so close to the real heart of a band.

We got to eat and chat with some of the best musicians in the United Kindom and they were all so approachable and friendly. We were so surprised and pleased.

Eddie Mordue, who played Baritone Sax with the Ted Heath Band, plays Lead Alto with The John Miller Orchestra and has worked with every major Star you can name. Sinatra, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis, Shirley Bassey and scores more would request that he be included in the line up of bands that were formed for their tours. He is a great story teller and is like a walking history of the music business and he isn't alone in this category.

Andy Prior with John

Allan Beever is the ride Tenor Sax man and has worked for every band in the country for the last 50 years. More great solos and stories.

Lead Trumpet, Bobby Cutting, played famous trumpet solos every night. You Made Me Love You, What's New and the rest. Brilliant stuff.

Pete Beavis has played trumpet all over and is the “Limerick King”. I suggest you don't get him started if you don't have someone to carry you back to your room when you're weak from laughter.

The Trombone section is to die for. The lead, Cliff Hardie, has a great jazz band of his own and was heavily featured producing some marvelous solos and, surprise surprise, sitting in the section was none other than Barrie Forgie, the leader of the BBC Radio Big Band. I always knew him as a leader, a much sought after arranger and a personality, but never realized he was also such a fine trombone player. More stories times 10. Fantastic.

Bob Howard was the drummer and if there is a better drummer in the world, who cares. When your dazzled to your capacity you can't take in any more. Every night he lifted us and showed us something new. Amazing.

By the end of day two, this didn't seem like a concert or a dance anymore. It was like a private party with a bunch of friends getting together, playing music with all 150 of us having a gay old time. In this happy atmosphere, we made some great new friends.  We didn't just get Miller music either. Since Glenn Miller knew every one in the business, they could play anything and it had a smooth and logical connection.

Leading this wonderful mob of musicians, and setting the tone for the week, was Glenn Miller's nephew, John Miller. He was the most gregarious of the lot. He was warm, friendly, funny and everywhere. And, even though he claims to be lousy at it, he even remembered all our names. His personal drive and energy went a long way to making our holiday so enjoyable and unforgettable.

John sings with the Band and on our last morning he serenaded us en mass under our balconies.

What a guy. One of the great personalities of our time and he's our friend, now. Margaret Saddington gave some lovely informative chats about Bands and Singers. She loves Ella.

Me too.

We had a day trip into the lovely and historic city of Seville and there were some fascinating excursions to the wetlands for some nature and bird watching and lots of other things to do.

The Saga reps took such great care of us I can't thank them enough. Icing on the cake.  Don't take my word for all this, wherever John Miller and his Orchestra are playing, come along and see for yourself. You will love it.