‘We all just really love the music’

The Bluebird Big Band
The Bluebird Big Band
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The beauty of this page is that it doesn’t just have to be about traditional rock bands.

Out there on the Fylde coast are folk playing a variety of instruments and ploughing their own furrows.

So it was a delight to receive a CD from The Bluebird Big Band, whose new record The Phoenix Rises is out now.

The Bluebird’s, as I’m going to call them, are a mini orchestra who play swing music with style and panache.

The band features between 16 and 20 players at an average gig and usually includes five saxophone players, four trumpeters, four trombones, piano, bass and drummer, and a male and female vocalist. What’s not to like?

“It is a good atmosphere within the band and the emphasis is on having fun and enjoying ourselves,” said Peter Whiteside, of Prices Way, Fleetwood, who plays trumpet.

“It’s like a community band and it’s made up of all ages. We have a trombone player who is 13 and then there is me who is 67, so there’s a really wide variety – the thing we all have in common is that we love music.”

The band began in 1988, set up by Terry Reaney, a well known local musician who played in the famous Syd Lawrence Orchestra. He was trumpet soloist in the orchestra for 15 years and did session work at the BBC and countless tours with top flight orchestras.

Then he decided he wanted to help up and coming young musicians and set up what was originally called the Blackpool and The Fylde College Big Band.

“Unfortunately, two years ago the college decided they couldn’t give us the rehearsal room any more so we had to have a rethink,” explained Peter.

“One of our players, Chris Carter, had just opened a studio-rehearsal room in St Annes, so we came up with the idea of switching to there. We renamed ourselves after his studio and we’ve been based there since. It’s also where we recorded our CD.”

The record backs up their claim that they are one of the leading big bands in the north west, and is available at all their gigs.

Speaking of which, they have just decided to start promoting gigs themselves – the first one at Blackpool Sixth Form College on Friday December 13.

Called Swing Into Christmas, and featuring tunes from the likes of Glenn Miller, Duke Ellington and Harry James, it starts at 7.30pm and admission is £6 at the door.

“If it goes well then we hope to promote more ourselves and the aim is to play gigs throughout the Fylde coast and in Preston as well,” added Peter.

There is a chance to see them before that when the Bluebird’s play a fundraising gig at the North Euston Hotel in Fleetwood on Saturday December 7.

For more details about the band, and to hear some of their music, go to www.facebook.com/TheBluebirdBigBand