As seen on BBC TV’s “Children in Need”
Dame Vera Lynn’s “Help for Heroes” Charity Ball
Five Star Swing Live On stage at London’s Leicester Square Theatre – “The show was driven by this great band” – Evening Standard
“They swing like crazy – Superb !” Sheila Tracy (B.B.C.)
“Sing-a-long songs brought to life by the singers and multi instrumentalists of the Five Star Swing band – A celebration of classic Swing !” (Telegraph).
“…fans of this style of music will revel in what is on offer! …Superb imaginative scores, great three-part vocals… with the brilliance of the sax section… at the finish, cheers rang out continuously until the house lights came up! – JIM KENNEDY (Encore Magazine).
“Sheer versatility !”Bournemouth Echo
Ray O’Luby (Daily Echo)
Five Star Swing, Regent Centre, Christchurch
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 dueting 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 Errol Garner’s Misty and Stephen Davies’ clarinet on Benny Goodman’s Sing, Sing, Sing. “…Swept us along from the start” Bournemouth Daily Echo
“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. Beautiful 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 and Glenn Miller’s Brother, Herb. 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. REWIEW by Sheila Tracy (BBC)
Five Star Swing with Sir Tim Rice
SWING ‘n’ SINATRA with FIVE STAR SWING
Musical Director: Chris Smith
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. 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……. and the big finish – ‘Sing, Sing,Sing’, featuring superb solos from the full ensemble including bassist NIGEL EMERTON and, particularly, drummer RICK PHILPOTT’. The near full house had cheers ranging out continuously until, finally, the house lights came up, announcing that the musical treat really had finally come to an end.
Previous Clients Include
Phil Collins (private party), Rod Stewart (private party), Tony Blair (Labour Party Conference), Dame Vera Lynn Charity Ball, Chelsea Flower Shows, Blenheim Palace, Kensington Palace, Savoy Hotel, Grosvenor Hotel, H.M The Treasury, Westminster Cabinet War Rooms, BBC Children In Need, British Airways, Wembley Conference Centre, Kew Gardens, TV & Film Veterans Association, Lords Cricket Ground, Granada TV, Watford Football Club, Imperial War Museum, Terry Wogan, John Prescott, Café Royal, Henley Regatta, Pinewood Film Studios, Royal Wimbledon Golf Club..
THE FIVE STAR SWING THEATRE SHOWS have sold out at many UK theatres, here are just a few:-
Leicester Square Theatre, Queens Theatre London, Theatre Royal Windsor, Military Wives (National tour), Brentwood Centre, Pavilion Theatre Worthing, Theatre Royal St. Helens, Winter Gardens Theatre Ventnor, Gordon Craig Theatre Stevenage, Theatre Royal Margate, The Castle Wellingborough, Talk of the Town Milton Keynes, Hove Centre Hove , Campus West Theatre Welwyn
The Radlett Centre Radlett, Customs House South Shields, Mowlem Theatre Swanage, Angel Theatre Woodbridge, Eric Morecambe Hall Harpenden, Castle Hall Hertford, The Elgiva Chesham, The Harlequin Redhill, Ben Hall Rugby, Pavilion Exmouth, Thameside Theatre Grays, Camberley Theatre Camberley, Hazlitt Theatre Maidstone, library Theatre Leighton Buzzard, Capitol Theatre, Horsham, Cromer Theatre Cromer, Barking Theatre Barking, Colne Theatre Colne, Kenneth More Theatre Ilford, Gravesend Civic Theatre, Swan theatre High Wycombe, Beck Theatre Hayes, Town Hall Theatre Hartlepool, Rosehill Theatre Whitehaven, Alban Arena St Albans
Empire Theatre Blackburn, Roses Theatre Tewkesbury, Medina Theatre Isle of White, Winter Gardens Margate, Lowther Pavilion Lytham St Annes, Pavilion Theatre Weymouth, The Playhouse Weston-Super-Mare, Queens Hall Dunoon, Corran Hall Oban, Phoenix Theatre Blyth
Warners Holiday Centres, Spa Pavilion Felixstowe, West Cliff Theatre Clacton, Claire Hall Heywards Heath, Princess theatre Hunstanton, Medina Theatre` Isle of Wight, Kings Hall Hern Bay, Chequer Mead Com’ Arts East Grinstead, Manor Pavilion Theatre Sidmouth
Queen Mother Theatre Hitchin, Plinston Hall Letchworth, Rufus Centre Flitwick, Wyvern theatre Swindon, Civic Theatre Aylesbury, Stantonbury Theatre Milton Keynes, Norden Arts centre Maidenhead, Parkway Theatre Cleethorpes, The Sands Gainsborough, Thwaites Theatre Blackburn, Priory Centre St. Neots, Wyllyotts Theatre Potters Bar, Millfield Theatre Edmonton, Corn Exchange Stamford, Theatre Royal Wakefield, Regis Centre Bognor, Playhouse Norwich, Guildhall Theatre Derby, Civic Theatre Oswaldtwistle, Bedford Corn Exchange, The Hub Theatre Verwood, Conquest Theatre Bromyard, Huntingdon Hall Worcester, Halls for Cornwall…
Theatre Royal, Windsor.
“Recreating the Glenn Miller repertoire live on stage requires a
high level of appreciation and knowledge of the genre – Chris
Smith has wisely chosen to feature musicians who have honed
their skills to perfection over 10 years of touring and playing in
The Big Band- Five Star Swing! With all due respect to the actors involved in this
national tour of “Bugle Boy” musical, this production would be
nothing without Chris Smith and Five Star Swing who, though just a
dozen strong, manage to reproduce remarkably faithful versions
of all those Miller favourites”. Barry Dix – Get West, London (Publication)
I just wanted to pass on my thanks and appreciation from both myself and all my
team here at Xero and was hoping you could please express our thanks to the rest of your band. Everyone thoroughly enjoyed you playing at our event the other night and are still raving about you guys as we speak.
You had everyone up dancing from the minute you started playing and I for one
know that my feet were killing me come midnight which is always a sign of a good
night dancing. I honestly cannot thank you all enough for attending our event and putting on a marvellous show. We will certainly be keeping you in mind for any other events we plan to hold in the future and wish you all the best with everything you do. Many thanks
Bank House 171 Midsummer Boulevard, Milton Keynes, MK9 1EB
Xero – Beautiful accounting software
My client was very pleased with the music provided for the evening of their corporate event.
Imperial War Museum,
…And, for those who weren’t on the airfield, there was a big ‘Swing Thing’ in action in the American Air Museum where folk were frocked up in 1940′s style – swinging their all to the Five Star Swing Band.
Children In Need , BBC TV
Thanks to Five Star Swing for making the Ball a big success, everyone was up dancing. The band was so versatile and all great performers
Can you please pass my thanks to Five Star Swing. The music last night was superb and I received some fantastic comments from clients and partners
National Portrait Gallery,
We would just like to say a big thank you to Five Star Swing. The music they played was great and I must say they were one of the best bands I’ve heard for a while.
Granada TV Studios,
Saw you last night for the second time and felt you were even better and uplifting than last year. Your CD keeps the memories coming. Thank you
John Boxall, St Neots
Just returned from the show at Stamford this evening 22 Nov. Outstanding musical ability, total enthusiasm and hard work, which produced a sound which defied any attempt to keep your hands or feet from moving! They love their music and it showed. It was an superb evening and I will be back.
Eddie Harper, Stamford
Saw your show at Kings Lynn last night, to say we were pleasantly surprised would be putting it mildly. purchased your CD so can listen again and again, thanks for a great evening
Derek & Ivy Wood, Wisbech
What a great night! Great music, talented musicians and vocalists, original arrangements… We can’t wait for a return visit by the band to Northamptonshire- please make it soon. In the meantime we’ll have to make do with the Album we’ve just ordered.! PS Just how does Chris play keyboard and Trumpet at the same time? (From an envious brass player!)
Ros & Trevor Livsey, Stirrup Cup Barton Seagrave
We were lucky enough to see this wonderful band. A combination of brilliant musicians and stunning arrangements left us wanting more at the end of a magical evening.
Jim & Jean Rouse, Stirrup Cup Barton Seagrave
Just seen the band at The Municipal Hall Colne and what a great show from a very talented group of musicians – well done and thanks for a great night out.
Richard Roberts, Barnoldswick, Lancs
Fabulous band, really enjoyed the evening and the versatility of all the band members.
H MICHAELS, MALDON ESSEX
I was sceptical at first that they could come up with the goods with only 7 players, but WOW did they deliver!!! the controlled tight and virtuosic ensemble playing was without peer. Great arrangements from Chris Smith, the whole band showed its multifarious diversity in every swinging number… and where did Stephen Davies learn to do all that stuff?! I commend them to the house!
Alexander Testbridge, Cleethorpes
MY PARTNER AND I WON TICKETS IN THE LOCAL PAPER TO SEE FIVE STAR SWING WE HAD A VERY ENJOYABLE NIGHT THANK YOU
mr A F HOSKINS, WESTON SUPER MARE
Arrived over 70 but left a teenager again what more can I say except thank you so much
Doris Swift, Brentwood
Hi, Thoroughly enjoyed the concert tonight. It was the best evening we have had for many years. You all took my wife and me down memory lane and made us feel like teenagers again. I wanted to jive but the wife felt embarrassed. Thank you for all the hard work you put in.
Bryan Roth, Brentwood
Hi all, Came to a show of yours recently and thought you were fantastic. Next time you are in or around MK I will be bringing friends to see you. Catch you soon,
Luke Palmer, Milton Keynes
A big thank you for helping our special day go with a swing ! You were all fantastic! We’ll be sure to find an occasion to book you again.
Lyndsey & Paul Wells, Wedding Day
I Just wanted to write to thank Five Star Swing for playing at our “1940′s night”. You interpreted the mood of the event perfectly and helped maintain the atmosphere right to the end. Hopefully we’ll have the opportunity to work with you again in the future.
Collegiate School, Berkhamstead
Hi there Chris, just a quick note to thank you guys for playing at our wedding on Sat 25th Feb’ 2012. We had a fantastic day – and many people commented on the quality of the live music – so that was great. Many thanks again, and I’ll leave you some excellent feedback with the bookings agency!!
All the best,
Bob Strawbridge | Managing Director | Ten Nine Ltd
I just wanted to say a big thank you for playing at our wedding at Lulworth Castle, you guys were absolutely brilliant and were everything we had hoped for. You perfectly captured the mood of the day and everyone said how much they enjoyed the music and dancing along. I only wish Luke and I could have stayed longer to dance more! Luke and I are still so thrilled about our day and how perfect it was for us and your music at the reception drinks and in the evening played a big part in making it just as we had imagined! My Grandma later called me up to sing Chattanooga Choo Choo down the phone at me because she said she has been singing it every day since the wedding! Thanks very much –Rebecca, Lulworth Castle.
We just wanted to thank you again for playing at our wedding, it was truly fantastic. As I’m sure you could tell, our guests also shared our sentiments completely. Sarah particularly, had always hoped of having a big band play on her special day and you fulfilled her dream beautifully!
We wish you all the best for the future.
Sarah and John Hummel
“Please pass on my grateful thanks to the band for making my wedding at Les Ambassadeurs, Park Lane such a happy occasion with a lovely atmosphere”. (Maria Tate – Darlington).
“Thank you for playing a big part in making my president’s Night a wonderful evening that I will never forget. Many of our guests expressed their pleasure in the band’s expertise and wide range of music played.” (Geoff & Shirley Webb – Rotary International).
“ We had a whale of a time! – what a band! So many people said what a great band they are and how much they enjoyed the music. They were also very nice people who didn’t put a foot wrong and really made the evening go with a swing. Please may we have them again for next year?”. (C. Monsma – A.W. Champion Ltd ).
“We would just like to say a huge thanks to Five Star Swing for making the evening of our Wedding such great fun. I certainly got my wish to see everybody dancing all night”. (Penny & Richard Zanetti, Bristol).
“Many thanks for playing for us again. The fund raising went well and everyone enjoyed the band’s performance”. (Sadie Hamer – Chaiman, Macmillan Cancer Relief)
“All our members thought the Band were excellent and contributed to a very successful evening”. ( Roger Bennett – Chairman, T.V.& Film Veterans Association).
“Roger and I would like to thank you so much for making Jessica’s Batmitzvah such a successful occasion. An excellent band, even better than I had remembered! We received lots of compliments on the music, which was just right. If we have any further celebrations you’ll be the first to know”. (Anne & Roger Mallack, Ilford, Essex).
“The Ball was an overwhelming success! Thank you for providing such great music and the professional way in which the engagement was carried out, together with a courteous and pleasant manner from all concerned. Your distinctive band was enjoyed by all my guests”. ( Jill White, Mayor – Borough of Surrey Heath ).
Just to say thank you so much for doing such a great job playing at our wedding on Saturday June 30th!
Your set was really enjoyable and everyone including us had a brilliant time. We were both very happy with how the first dance went, and your ceremony playing.
I’d happily recommend you, as I thought you were fantastic!!
A good sized and appreciative audience at Fleetwood’s Marine Hall were well entertained by a band that certainly lived up to its name of 5 Star Swing. Led by Pianist/Trumpet and Vocalist Chris Smith the band played a
excellent selection of favourites made famous by such as Glen Miller, Count Basie, Woody Herman, Frank Sinatra etc. Although only 11 musicians they were all masters of their craft featuring many fine soloists,
particularly bass player Steve. Simone Smith was not only a good vocalist but a very talented saxophonist who at one time had been lead alto wit the Ivy Benson Orchestra. Featuring numbers like In The Mood, Woodchoppers Ball, Chicago, Georgia etc the band had the audience foot tapping along then cheering for more at the end of a very entertaining evening.
Really enjoyed the evening.
Alan Hebden, Blackpool Gazette