Andrea and I went to see one of the National Arts Centre (NAC) Pops series last night entitled “Holiday Swing”. As the name suggests, it is a “swing” / big band version of Christmas music. While the series is almost always a good time, it is much improved when Jack Everly is conducting himself as opposed to designing the overall program for the year. Unfortunately, in that regard, it was not Jack, but Byron Stripling performing as conductor, trumpet, and vocals.
I confess that I’m not a big band aficionado, nor a jazz specialist, and was not familiar with Byron Stripling directly. You can see him online in a popular YouTube video:
His trumpet playing is awesome, but that’s about almost where the kudos end for the evening. The night was so inconsistent, it’s hard to know where to begin.
Overall, there were 14 songs during the night, and the NAC Orchestra was sitting twiddling their thumbs for far too much of the show. » Read the rest