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The Pasadena Roof Orchestra (commonly abbreviated to PRO) is a contemporary band from England that specialises in the jazz and swing genres of music of the 1920s and 1930s, although their full repertoire is considerably wider. The orchestra has existed since 1969, although the line-up has frequently changed. It has achieved success outside the United Kingdom, most notably in Germany.
Brief history :
The Pasadena Roof Orchestra (commonly abbreviated to PRO) is a contemporary band from England that specialises in the jazz and swing genres of music of the 1920s and 1930s, although their full repertoire is considerably wider. The orchestra has existed in its current form since 1969, although the line-up has frequently changed. It has achieved success outside of the United Kingdom, most notably in Germany.
The Pasadena Roof Orchestra was so named in November 1969 by John Arthy, a baker who played the double bass and sousaphone, and who had taken over the Creole Dance Orchestra (first formed in 1965) in which he played bass and sousaphone, from Chris Macdonald, its founder. Arthy purchased a cache of original musical arrangements dating from the 1920s stored in the attic of a lady in Manchester, and the strength of this find reinvigorated the flagging fortunes of the earlier band. The new name of the band was inspired by Harry Warren's "(Home in) Pasadena". There had been a strong revival movement for music of the 1920s in the late 50s and early 60s (known as the Trad movement – bands included The Temperance Seven); however, Arthy continued to move this band in a different direction to most of the revivalists, away from humour and towards more serious, dedicated renditions of the music.
The orchestra's first vocalist was John "Pazz" Parry, an old friend of Arthy's (the two had both been members of the Creole Dance Orchestra from 1965). With the injection of the new arrangements, Arthy as Bandleader, also performing on the double bass and sousaphone, the PRO soon grew in popularity.
The orchestra became professional in 1975. Their first LP for Transatlantic was recorded in August 1974 and released in December of that year, premiering at the Midem music fair in Cannes in 1975. The orchestra followed this by touring West Germany (where the revival movement was incredibly popular) in the Autumn of that year.
The orchestra toured the United States in 1993 and 2001 (their 25th Anniversary album cover featured a photo of the band in front of the Ambassador Theatre in Pasadena, California).
They have worked with musical luminaries such as Robbie Williams (in 2005) and Bryan Ferry (in 2000).
Although John Arthy retired in 1997, the band continues to tour extensively and record with bandleader and singer Duncan Galloway. In 2009, the orchestra toured Great Britain and Germany.
In 2017 the Orchestra continues to flourish…Wide ThumbClearartFanartBanner User Comments