Swingers - Lucy, Jason & Co Big Band Bash
NZ Herald Time Out Magazine
30 July 2009
Getting into the swing
Kerrison has been practising singing Opshop's Maybe in a swing
slyle and failing miserably.
"What happns is I end up with this really bad faux New York
accent. I'll have to work it out somehow." he laughs.
He may have written the song of the year in 2008 - with One Day,
the PostShop song, winning the APRA Silver Scroll — but when it
comes to swing music Kerrison's a novice.
Apart from growing up listening to Manhattan Transfer, and
hearing songs by Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin and Perry Como in
old movies, he reckons he learnt all he knows about swing from
actress and singer Lucy Lawless during their photo shoot for the
upcoming show Starship Supernova Swing at Vector Arena on
Lawless, who is ambassador for the Starship Foundation, the
charity arm of Starship children's hospital, brought along a
bunch of classic swing tunes by the likes of Benny Goodman and
others to create a swingin* mood.
"Man. she is a wealth of knowledge,"says Kerrison. "She knew all
the stories behind the songs, all the lyrics, and she knew who
was playing on the records. 1 felt woefully inadequate. 1 have
to do some research."
Kerrison and Lawless will be joined for the show by former Dudes
frontman-tumed-swing singer extraordinaire, Peter
Uriich, Kirsten Monell of Goldenhorse, feelers front man James
Reid, Dave Gibson from Hemeno P, former Zed singer Nathan King,
and the Lady Killers.
Proceeds from the evening will fond a number of projects at
Starship, including new lifesaving equipment, ongoing research,
family support initiatives and preventative programmes.
Kerrison's aim is to bring "a touch of class" to a few of
Opshop's best known songs. 'I've never experienced that so
that's the angle I'm going for." he says.
Athough Urlich might have some expert advice for Kerrison when
it comes time for rehearsals. "Is he going to take Opshop songs
and swing them?" he asks, a little perplexed by the idea.
"That's an interesting experiment"
One thing's for sure, Urlich won't be attempting to swing Th'
Dudes' Walking In Light — although one imagines it might go down
quite well — and he'll be sticking to classics like Fly Me To
The Moon, most famously recorded by Frank Sinatra, and Feivrsung
by Peggy Lee.
Forty-one-year-old Lawless has been a fan of swing and jazz
since she was 13, with records by Billie Holiday. Nina Simone,
and Dinah Washington ("She had a lilt and a warmth about her
that is just astonishing."), among the first she owned.
She also remembers one of her first introductions to swing music
being from 70s TV show The Waltons, with piano-playing brother
Jason Walton a big Benny Goodman enthusiast so Lawless is
looking forward to the swing spectacular in September.
"It brings the romance of another era and we all sorely lack a
litde romance these days 1 think. So a little bit of dre Brat
Pack will be nice and 1 get to go and play a litde bit with the
big boys," she says of performing with Tuxedo Swing Orchestra on
Lawless and Urlich both have different takes on what swing music
is but the names Peggy Lee, Benny Goodman, and Frank Sinatra
always seem to pop up. along with classic swing tunes like
Sinatra's version of Fly Me To the Moon and Lee's Fever.
Urlich, who released the swing album, Between You And Me, last
year featuring songs like Fly Me To The Moon, Few, and Bill
Withers' Ain't No Sunshine, says swing is not necessarily a
style and more like a mood and vibe created within a song.
"It's when the band is in the pocket. It's when the band is in
unison for what ever genre they are [playing]. So it doesn't
just cover a certain period of music associated with the likes
of Duke Ellington, Frank Sinatra and others."
But for him, the classic swing period is the glory days of the
big bands from the 50s and 60s and songs like Feier.
"[That song] had a strange and funny vibe to it. It intrigued me
for the way the bass was going ..." he says as he starts singing
a deep, moochy bass line.
"It's got that skippy, relendess tiling that takes you on to the
next part of the song and there is a lot of energy in it. That
had a huge impact on me.
"It's a groove. It's so cool," lie says before breaking into
song "Fly me to die moon, Let mesing among those stars..."
What: Starship Supernova Swing Who: Lucy Lawless, Jason
Kerrison (Cpshop). Peter Urlich. and more.
Where & when: Vector Arena. September 16