Swing Into Christmas - our new album available now!
We're delighted to announce the release of our new album Swing Into Christmas which is available now as a physical CD or digital download from our Bandcamp store.
Recorded at the Cold Stores Studio, Kent in January and September 2020, and featuring the magnificent sounds of the 28-piece Down for the Count Concert Orchestra, this is by far our most ambitious recording to date.
The album was produced by band leader Mike Paul-Smith, who along with conducting the ensemble in the studio was also responsible for writing original arrangements of 7 of the 15 songs on the album. “I have always loved the arrangements written by Nelson Riddle and Gordon Jenkins for legends such as Frank Sinatra, Nat ‘King’ Cole, Ella Fitzgerald and others,” explains Mike. “In writing the original arrangements for this album, I’ve tried to emulate the sounds of the studio orchestras which were such a key part in the success of these great singers. One of the talents of arrangers like Nelson Riddle was writing for the orchestra in a way that never distracted from the vocals and only ever enhanced them, and I’ve tried to write in the same way – showcasing the unique talents of our four exceptional singers.”
Whilst the album contains Christmas favourites (from The Most Wonderful Time of the Year to The Christmas Song (Chestnuts Roasting)), many of the songs selected are not as well known. “One of the joys of preparing for this album was uncovering songs we hadn’t heard before” said Mike. “A great example of this is The Christmas Waltz, a beautiful tune written personally for Frank Sinatra by the song writing team of Styne and Cahn; and an arrangement of White Christmas we hadn’t heard before, written by Gordon Jenkins for Louis Armstrong, which we have recreated. We’ve also included some songs which aren’t strictly “Christmas” tunes but have a winter theme, alongside a recreation of Duke Ellington and Billy Strayhorn’s version of Tchiakovsky’s Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy for the jazz aficionados out there. We hope there is something for everyone on this album and that families will be able to enjoy it whilst tucking in to the mince pies around the fireside this Christmas time.”
The first recording day for the album was in January 2020, and not long afterwards the country went into lockdown, which briefly threatened to pause the project. According to Mike, “there’s no doubt that the pandemic made the planning for this album more complex than it would otherwise have been. However the second and third recording days at the end of summer really gave us something to focus on and work towards during the long months of lockdown and social distancing – with one musician describing it as ‘a real glimmer of hope’.”
The album was recorded at the same time as a non-festive album, also featuring Down for the Count’s Concert Orchestra, which will be released in 2021.
Buy Swing Into Christmas from Down for the Count's Bandcamp store today!