The New Empire Ballroom Ragtime Dance Orchestra - Live in Concert
The New Empire Ballroom Ragtime Dance Orchestra – Live In Concert
CD Review by Ian Dearden
Compiled from two live concerts by the New Empire Ballroom Ragtime Dance Orchestra (NEBRDO for short) at the North Sydney Leagues Club in 2013 and the Laycock Street Theatre, Gosford, this is music of the roaring 20s, evoking images of jiving flappers and fedora wearing men in suits.
This was the era immediately post World War I, when the world was doing its best to forget the horrors of war with a frenetic rush into twentieth century hedonism, and where better to taste such delights than in the ballroom, with a big band belting out the hits of the day, so that you could dance the night away?
With the exception of ‘That’s A Plenty’ (1904), the rest of the 17 tracks on this album were written between 1920 and 1930, and represent an almost relentless pursuit of happiness and fun.
From the opening number ‘Happy Days Are Here Again’ through the likes of ‘When You’re Smiling’, ‘I Want To Be Happy’, ‘I Wanna Be Bad’, ‘Sunny Side Of The Street’, ‘Sweethearts On Parade’, ‘Happy Feet’ and ‘Varsity Drag’, there is a clear theme that emerges.
This is music to sing and dance your cares away, and NEBRDO embrace this ambition with gusto and superb musicianship.
NEBRDO started in 2010, and its stated mission is to authentically recreate ragtime and hot dance orchestras from the 1890s through to the 1920s.
Let me tell you – they do it in spades.
This collection of songs and tunes is, as noted, almost exclusively, from the 1920s, but a quick flick through their Facebook entries see them presenting concert repertoire that ranges across both genres.
Ragtime, of course, being one of the precursor ingredients of the blossoming of the jazz age in the twenties.
Apart from the song titles, running order and year of composition, there is little information in the liner notes, in particular, no clues about personnel, including the vocalists, male and female, who step out in front of the orchestra to add period perfect vocal performances to the mix.
Regardless, these are superb ensemble performances, vocally and instrumentally, and the orchestra can be seen and heard in and around its Central Coast base at Gosford, as well as venues further afield.
Check out their Facebook page for more information and grab a copy of the CD at www.duckscrossing.org/shop/ (where you can find another couple of their CD releases as well), so you can be transported back in time!!
This product was added to our catalog on Thursday 18 January, 2018.