Peggy, Duke & Benny

Georgina Jackson – vocals/trumpet, Pete Long – clarinet, Nick Dawson – piano, Anthony Kerr – vibes, Dave Chamberlain – bass, Richard Pite – drums.

This show came about, as most good things do, largely by accident! I’ve been organising for the last few years the music for the summer Jazz concert at the RAC country club in Epsom. They do like to have a theme with their jazz concerts, and we’d organised for them concerts of, amongst others, Ray Charles and Louis Armstrong.

Last year, we were trying to come up with something. I’d been going around the theatres with my Benny Goodman show, and Georgina had been broadcasting the Peggy Lee songbook with the BBC big band. I’d always fancied the idea doing a dedicated Benny Goodman small band show, and as Peggy’s first job was with Benny in the 1940’s, there was a link there to easily include Georgina and to take advantage of all the work she’d put in for the Beeb!

I did Business Studies A-Level back in the 1980’s, and Mr. Griffiths, my teacher, said that for marketing purposes, things were always easier to sell in threes- (Frank Dean & Sammy- Good, Assault and Battery-Bad, Sodom & Gomorrah-Bad) so I figured we’d need another big name on the poster. In the 1960’s, Peggy worked with the Great Duke Ellington on the movie “Anatomy Of A Murder”, and even co-wrote the dark but intensely groovy “I’m Gonna Go Fishin’. As one of my great heroes is Duke Ellington, it felt natural to include his big songs in the set and so the show was born.

Penny, Duke and Benny on stage.

The nucleus of the band was formed from another show that I was touring with at the time, called “100 Years Of Jazz in 99 Minutes”. The guys in the rhythm section there really know how to swing, and each has a CV as long as Simon Cowell’s tax return! All we needed was a good man on Vibes. While Georgina was working at the BBC, she struck up a friendship there with the great Anthony Kerr, and so the band was born! Have a little listen to the tracks here and see what you think- the full album is now available”