#StayHome, Face the Music and Dance #WithUs!
It's fair to say we've really been missing our live shows - it's four weeks since we got to play in front of a live audience, and today was the day we were meant to be performing our third sold-out show at Ronnie Scott's Jazz Club.
So we thought we'd get dressed up in our tuxedos and ballgowns and put on a show for you - here's our take on Nat 'King' Cole's Let's Face the Music and Dance!
The video is dedicated to the extraordinary staff of the NHS who are currently working so hard to keep us safe - if you can, please donate to NHS Charities Together to show your support.
This video was recorded entirely at home by the Down for the Count Concert Orchestra and was mixed, mastered and produced by our band leader Mike Paul-Smith. The video was edited by our violinist Sophie Poteratchi, leader of our fabulous string group Down for the Count Strings.
"Let's Face The Music and Dance" is a jazz standard written by Irving Berlin in 1936. Our version is a slight adaptation of the one arranged for Nat King Cole's album "Let's Face The Music" by the great trumpeter and arranger Billy May. We love everything about Billy May's original arrangement and have tried to keep as much of it in our version as possible.
To learn more about how we put the video together, visit our musical director Mike Paul-Smith's website:
We hope you enjoy watching it - please share it with your friends and remember to Stay Home and Stay Safe at this difficult time.
Conductor & Organ: Mike Paul-Smith
Vocals: Callum Gillies
Piano: Alex Howgego
Drums: James Smith
Upright Bass: Charlie Pyne
Guitar: Sam Ainslie
Timpani: Dae Hyun Lee
Vibraphone: Jordan Murray
Tambourine: Ellis Brockless
Violin: Sophie Poteratchi
Violin: Sophie Belinfante
Violin: Rose Hinton
Violin: Phoebe Snelling
Viola: Jordan Sian
Viola: Kasia Ziminska
Cello: Lucy Andrews
Cello: Amelia Forster
Alto Saxophone: Luke Pinkstone
Alto Saxophone: Katie Edwards
Tenor Saxophone: Alex Western-King
Tenor Saxophone: Dr. Cameron Kuronen-Stewart
Baritone Saxophone: Jamie Hone
Trumpet: Max Fagandini
Trumpet: Simon Joyner
Trumpet: Jeff Brown
Trumpet: Luke Davies
Trombones: Joe Fenning
Bass Trombone: Simon Chorley
Sousaphone: Cameron Barnett
Additional instrument tracking: Luke Pinkstone, Max Fagandini, Luke Davies, Jordan Murray, Joe Fenning
Quickstep dancer: Ellie Jones
Office worker: Laura Gillies
Chef: Verity Roberts
Monopoly player: Hannah Castleman
Mixing and Mastering: Mike Paul-Smith
Video concept and editing: Sophie Poteratchi
Down for the Count, a London-based swing band, have released an “Orchestra in Lockdown” video in tribute to the NHS. It has had over 52,000 views in the first 48 hours since it was released on Facebook, helping to spread a positive message and raising funds for NHS Charities Together.
Musical director Mike Paul-Smith, who put the project together, said:
“We're all in awe of what our key workers are doing at the moment, particularly our NHS staff, and we wanted to do something to show our appreciation of them. It’s so inspiring how healthcare workers carry on doing such a difficult job day after day, and we thought that the song “Let's Face the Music and Dance” epitomises that attitude perfectly. Also, music and dance both have the ability to lift people’s spirits. This is such a difficult time for everyone – including for us as musicians, unsure when we’re going to be able to play together again – so we wanted to do something positive to bring a little joy into people’s lives.
“The video is a collaboration between Down for the Count, and our friends Down for the Count Strings – their leader, Sophie Poteratchi, and I came up with the idea. It features musicians from all over England and Scotland – including an NHS doctor from Edinburgh – who recorded the song separately from their own homes.
“Once we had chosen the song, I transcribed the orchestral parts from the original Billy May arrangement, written for Nat ‘King’ Cole in the early 1960s, and sent them round to all the musicians who individually recorded their separate parts at home, whilst listening to just the drums and bass in their headphones. Some of the musicians have home recording equipment, but most of them just recorded the audio on their phones and sent it back to me to mix together.
“Sophie and I also asked everyone to film themselves playing – the only instruction was “put on your concert dress and have fun” – everyone dusted down their tuxedos and ballgowns, propped up their phone on piles of books, and imagined they were at a concert. Everyone had their own little individual take on the “have fun” message and it was great to see what everyone came up with (especially when they had bars of rest – everything from quickstepping around the living room to cooking cauliflower soup!). Sophie then watched over 4 hours of footage from the individual musicians, and somehow, over the course of a week, condensed it all down into one 3 minute video.
“It’s amazing how all this could be achieved from the comfort of our own homes in keeping with the Stay Home guidelines. We wanted to demonstrate how you can still achieve something and collaborate with others without having to leave your home, all the while helping to protect the NHS and raising money for NHS Charities Together. It’s wonderful how dressing up, donning our suits and best dresses and playing one of our favourite swing tunes has got us all feeling more positive than we have in weeks. We wanted to share that feeling with other music fans and also make people smile and laugh in the process - we hope this video goes some way to lifting people’s spirits and raises money for a great cause too.”