“Sheer Versatility… They swept us along from the start !” – (The Daily Echo).
“A Celebration of Vintage Swing!” – (The Telegraph)
Previous Clients include:-
Dame Vera Lynn
Chelsea Flower Show
The Savoy Hotel, Grosvenor Hotel
H.M The Treasury
Westminster Cabinet War Rooms
BBC Children In Need
Wembley Conference Centre
TV & Film Verterans Association
Lords Cricket Ground
Watford Football Club
Imperial War Museum
Five Star Productions THEATRE SHOWS have sold out at many UK theatres, the full list includes
Queens Theatre, Hornchurch.
Empire Theatre Blackburn
REWIEW by Sheila Tracy (BBC)
“They Swing like CRAZY!”
Saxophones, a rhythm section and vocals, swinging like crazy – that’s the aptly named FIVE STAR SWING ! As saxophone section in any band, they would take some beating. Beautifully tones and well rehearsed by their leader, Chris Smith (Jnr), who has the singular talent of playing the trumpet with his right hand and the piano with his left at one and the same time ! He also happens to be a very experienced music writer having learnt his trade with the National Youth Jazz Orchestra. Add to the fact that he can also well handle a vocal, as can his wife, lead alto Simone Smith and tenor man Stephen Davies, who’s clarinet playing on “Sing, Sing, Sing” was superb – and it will give you some idea of the breadth of talent in this line-up. This is a band crying out to be danced to and it wasn’t long before the jivers took to the dance floor. Five Star Swing –a “must” for every dance club in the country.
Right in the swing !
By Ray O’Luby (Daily Echo)
Swing ‘n’ Sinatra, Regent Centre, Christchurch
“Swing-master” Smith strikes up the bands…
Fully living up to their five-star name, this London-based outfit under the direction of veteran Chris Smith (jnr) swept us along from the start with their excellent repertoire from Big Band’s golden era.
And even if they’re not that “big” – there are only five of them – they make up for that with sheer versatility.
The “brass” section alternate saxophones with flute, clarinet and even viola, while sharing vocals with the leader who plays piano and trumpet – sometimes both at once.
The highlights came mainly from Sinatra’s inexhaustible songbook, with Chris Smith (jnr) extolling the delights of Chicago and duetting with the band’s female singer Simone Smith (who also happens to be his wife) on Something Stupid, while Stephen Davies made for a splendidly mean Mac the Knife.
The instrumentalists took in all the musical genre’s shades, from Tommy Dorsey’s stomping Opus One to Dizzy Gillespie’s blasting Be Bop and Glenn Miller’s super-smoothly polished swing. There was some great instrumental work too, including Simone Smith’s sax on Erol Garner’s Misty and Stephen Davies’ clarinet on Benny Goodman’s Sing Sing Sing.
“A musical treat” – Jim Kennedy (Encore Magazine)
JIM KENNEDY (Encore Magazine April ’07)
SWING ‘n’ SINATRA…
Musical Director: Chris Smith (jnr)
Take a sixteen piece big band, remove the four trumpets, withdraw the four trombones, lose the rhythm guitar and what are you left with? The answer is the seven handed ‘FIVE STAR SWING’ – four saxes, bass, piano & drums – and although the line-up is as unlikely as you will find anywhere, it really does work a treat. The reasons are twofold. First is that each member of the band is a master of his/her instrument and second, the superb arrangements provided by musical director CHRIS SMITH (jnr). His imaginative scoring complements the unusual line up to perfection. Whatever drive is lacking from the missing brass sections, the ‘swing’ – is more than replaced by the dynamic keyboard, synthesiser and excellent trumpet, all contributed by the multi-talented front man and the fact that he also sings well, comes as no surprise.
The sax section – SIMONE SMITH, VICKY COWLES, STEPHEN DAVIES and DAVID WIGRAM – all play the full range of reed instruments, with the latter playing some fine solos on Viola. The main vocals also come from the brass set up, with the sultry Simone Smith and the swinging Stephen Davies in fine form. If the title of the show is somewhat of a misnomer – the programme is much less of a tribute to ‘Old Blue Eyes’ than a journey through the great swing ballads of a former era – fans of this style of music will, nevertheless, revel in what is on offer. Some of the highlights which thrilled the onlookers, were the superb arrangement of the Glenn Miller classic ‘In the Mood’, coupled with ‘Don’t Sit Under the Apple Tree’ which included a great three-part vocal set, the atmospheric ‘Misty’, the driving ‘Bebop’, which really showed off the tight brilliance of the sax section and ‘You Again’ a composition beautifully written and scored by leader Chris Smith (jnr)……. and the big finish – ‘Sing, Sing, Sing’, featuring superb solos from the full ensemble including bassist NIGEL EMERTON and, particularly, drummer RICK PHILPOTT’. At the finish cheers rang out continuously until, finally, the house lights came up, announcing that the musical treat really had finally come to an end.
JIM KENNEDY (Encore Magazine)