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In the Mood for Miller at The Grove

THERE'S nothing like a bit of swing to get the audience at The Grove "In the Mood" for a night of Glenn Miller classics.

It was just like old times for Glenn's 'young' nephew, John, when he took to the Dunstable stage with his 16-piece orchestra for a night of Miller Magic.

Back in the early 1980s, when John first settled in the UK, he had a spot on Chiltern Radio called Swing's the Thing. Now he tours with the boys (and one gal on bass) to venues large and small. As he said, his occupation on his passport ought to read "famous nephew".

But his self depreciating humour couldn't mask the fact that he had inherited the Miller finesse. A charismatic band-leader, singer and front-man, John is a natural entertainer.

His laid back charm was a huge winner with the mostly senior crowd and only momentarily diminished when he turned travelling salesman to hawk his latest CD and video to the audience.

It's an economic fact of life for many of these acts but his uncle Glenn would have been aghast at the tawdriness of it all.

Despite the commercial break he was welcomed back to the area with enthusiastic applause – well, as enthusiastic as an audience with the average age of 70 could muster - and, during the interval, a copious number of kisses from female fans.

Lovers of Glenn's infectious arrangements could help but admire the new generation's efforts to emulate the boss.

Following Glenn's disappearance the band was taken over by his brother Herb, and, on his death in 1987, by John – though, because of the march of time, obviously not the same band.

In fact most, if not all of the new orchestra, sounded as though they'd never set foot out of the UK – but the music was none the worse for that.

All the Miller favourites – In The Mood, Pennsylvania 6-5000, Little Brown Jug, String of Pearls, Chattanooga Choo Choo, Song of the Volga Boatmen and Elmer's Tune et al – were featured with Miller and chanteuse, Fiona Paige, who's been with the act 27 years, providing vocals where necessary.

A memorable night out for Miller fans, and a pretty great evening for those new to the genre.

John asked whether the audience wanted him back. Yessir.

 
 
 

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