Pasadena Roof Orchestra – The Christmas Album (2011)

FrontCover1.jpgThe Pasadena Roof Orchestra presents its very first Christmas Album. All the tracks are carefully selected Christmas favourites drawn from the Orchestra’s extensive repertoire, and capture the very essence of a vintage Christmas celebration.

A Christmas album from an established artist is normally high up on the recording agenda. In this respect it might be fair to say this album is somewhat overdue, especially as the Orchestra had a radio hit with “White Christmas” in the 70s. A little research into seasonal songs from the 20s, 30s and 40s reveals a wealth of material, and whilst some of these tracks will be very familiar, others not so. “It’s Winter Again” or “I’m Going Home for Christmas” for example are welcome new additions to a Christmas playlist.

The styles on this album range from a pure Norman Rockwell like “Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer” to an out and out swinging Dorsey style “Santa Claus is Coming To Town”. It starts with a Simon Townley inspired “Christmas Stomp” – listeners who can spot all the tunes in this medley can award themselves an extra mince pie!


The Pasadena Roof Orchestra has been playing swing and hot dance jazz for over 40 years, releasing roughly 40 albums in that span. The London based outfit is extremely popular throughout Europe and, of late, in Japan. The founder of the group, John Arthy, was the last original member of the group when he retired in 1997. But the band goes on. Arthy founded the band upon having discovered a trunk full of original band arrangements from the 20s in an attic, so the bulk of the band’s repertoire is 20s and 30s, but they don’t always limit themselves to pre-war material (“The Christmas Album” being a good example; the song “Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer” made it’s first appearance in song on the radio in 1948). (


Mally Baxter (trumpet)
Dave Berry (bass, sousphone)
Dave Ford (trumpet)
Robert Fowler (saxophone, clarinet)
Adrian Fry (trombone, vocals)
Duncan Galloway (vocals, saxophone, clarinet)
James Hastings (saxophone, clarinet)
Dai Pritchard (saxophone, clarinet)
Graham Roberts (guitar, banjo)
Simon Townley (piano, celsta, vocals)
John Watson (drums)


01. Christmas Stomp (Townley) 3.42
02. Winter Wonderland (Bernard/Smith) 2.49
03. It’s Winter Again (Freed/Goodhart/Hoffmann) 3.09
04. Sleigh Ride (Anderson) 3.05
05. Rudolph, The Red-Nosed Reindeer (Marks) 3.12
06. White Christmas (Berlin) 3.18
07. The Little Boy That Santa Claus Forgot (Carr/Connor/Leach) 2.35
08. I’ll Be Home For Christmas (Gannon/Kent/Ram) 2.53
09. Santa Claus Is Coming To Town (Coots/Gillespie) 3.39
10. I’m Going Home For Christmas (Goodheart/Hoffmann/Sigler) 2.52
11. Jingle Bells (Pierpont) 2.18
12. Silent Night (Stille Nacht) (Gruber/Mohr) 2:19



More from The Pasadena Roof Orchestra:


The Pasadena Roof Orchestra – Good News (1975)

FrontCover1The Pasadena Roof Orchestra was formed in Nov. 1969 by Johnny Arthy, a lover of 1920’s jazz who sought to lead a dance-oriented jazz-influenced big band specializing in music from the 1923-37 period. The British band gained its name because Arthy liked the obscure song “Pasadena.” The orchestra had its first gig in April 1970 and soon Arthy came across a windfall, 1, 500 original arrangements from the 1920’s practically given away by an elderly lady whose father had been musical director of a dance band in the twenties. The P.R.O. started out playing once a week but, after the success of their first album in 1974, they turned professional and began working much more often. A European tour in 1975 added to the group’s momentum and since then they have worked constantly and recorded fairly regularly (in the early days for Transatlantic and later on mostly for their own P.R.O. label). 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)

And here´s another delightful sentimental journey … this was their third album and it´s a really pretty good one !


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)


Alternate front + back cover

01. Good News (de Sylva/Brown/Henderson) 3.00
02. Vo Do Do De O Blues (Yellen/Ager) 2.48
03. Stormy Weather (Keeps Rainin’ All The Time) (Arlen/Koehler) 5.24
04. My Canary Has Circles Under His Eyes (Gold/Koehler) 3.05
05. Choo-Choo (Trumbauer/Malnek) 2.56
06. Three Little Words (Ruby) 3.00
07. Home (J. Clarkson/H. Clarkson(v.Steeden) 4.31
08. Everything Stops For Tea (Goodhart/Hoffman/Sigler) 2.18
09. Pasadena (Lesli/Clarke/Warren) 2.58
10. Sugarfood Stomp (Oliver/Armstrong) 2.40
11. Sing Holly, Go Whistle, Hey Hey (Hulbert/England) 2.16
12. Georgia (On My Mind) (Carmichael/Gorrell) 4.51
13. That’s My Weakness Now (Green/Stept) 3.11
14. The King’s Horses (Graham/Gay) 3.50
15. The Mooche (Ellington) 4.41
16. Here’s To The Next Time (Hall/Lawrence) 2.27



Still alive and well: