The Pasadena Roof Orchestra (commonly abbreviated to PRO) is a contemporary band from England that specialises in the jazz and swing genres of music of the 1920s and 1930s, although their full repertoire is considerably wider. The orchestra has existed since 1969, although the line-up has frequently changed. It has achieved success outside of the United Kingdom, most notably in Germany.
The Pasadena Roof Orchestra was formed in November 1969 by John Arthy, a baker who moonlighted as a BBC session bass player. Arthy discovered a cache of original musical arrangements dating from the 1920s in an attic and on the strength of this find decided to form his own band. The name of the band was inspired by Harry Warren’s (Home in) Pasadena. There was a strong revival movement for music of the 1920s at the time (known as the Trad/Rad movement; other rival bands included The Temperance Seven); however, Arthy moved this new band in a different direction to most of the revivalists: away from humour and towards more serious, dedicated renditions of the music.
The orchestra’s first vocalist was John “Pazz” Parry, an old friend of Arthy’s (the two had both been members of The Water Rats Jazz Band). With Arthy as Bandleader and also performing on the double bass and sousaphone, the PRO soon grew in popularity.
The orchestra became professional in 1975. Their first LP was recorded in Autumn 1974 and released the following Spring, premiering at the Midem music fair in Cannes. The orchestra followed this by touring West Germany (where the revival movement was incredibly popular) in the Autumn of that year.
The orchestra toured the United States in 1993 and 2001 (their 25th Anniversary album cover featured a photo of the band in front of the Ambassador Theatre in Pasadena, California). They have worked with musical luminaries such as Robbie Williams (in 2005) and Bryan Ferry (in 2000).
Although John Arthy retired in 1997, the band continues to tour and record with bandleader and singer Duncan Galloway. In 2009, the orchestra toured Great Britain and Germany. (by wikipedia)
And this is their beautiful debut-album recorded in 1974 … :
No famous soloists are among their alumni since the Pasadena Roof Orchestra is very much a dance band, but the group has long featured colorful ensembles, period vocals and brief individual spots, very much in the early pre-swing style which they treat with great respect. (by Scott Yanow)
Listen and enjoy !
John Arthy (bass, tuba)
Peter Beresford (violin)
John Bright (banjo)
Tony Cooke (cornet)
Ken Hughes (clarinet, vocals)
Stan Ivison (piano)
Derek Jones (percussion)
David Manning (cornet)
John Parry (vocals)
Clive Payne (clarinet, saxophone)
Andrew Pummell (clarinet, vocals)
Bob Renvoize (trombone)
Albert Sadler (banjo)
01. Paddlin’ Madelin’ Home (Woods) 2.17
02. You’ve Got Me Crying,Again (Newman/Jones) 4.01
03. Wob-A-Ly Walk (Green/Warren) 3.08
04. Love In Bloom (Robin/Rainger) 3.54
05. Me And Jane In A Plane (Leslie/Gilbert) 3.05
06. Savoy Christmas Medley (Traditional) 4.24
07. Nagasaki (Warren/Dixon) 3.05
08. Muddy Water (Richman/Trent/de Rose) 5.31
09. Varsity Drag (Desilva/Brown/Henderson) 3.02
10. Can’t We Be Friends (Swift) 4.29
11. Eccentric (Robinson) 2.26
12. Charleston (Mack/Johnson) 2.52
13. Come On Baby (Gotler/Pinkyard/Clare) 2.54