#3 My Top Ten British Big Bands…No 2…Syd Lawrence Orchestra

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This is a very easy number two for me, because the Syd Lawrence Orchestra was my first live experience of the big band sound. I must have been about the mid 1960’s. I was a teenager and loved the Beatles but was persuaded by my friend Brian also a musician to go to this gig at the Grand Hall In Kilmarnock. I had never heard anything like the sound of this band, which was the sound of the Glen Miller orchestra, but none of the recordings you’ve heard prepares you for what this sounds like live.

Syd Lawrence became famous for the sound of his orchestra. He was a talented trumpet player who wrote and arranged music and was based in Cairo during the war years, playing and arranging for the RAF service bands.

In 1967, Lawrence teamed up with several of his colleagues at the Northern Dance Orchestra to play the music that he was most enthusiastic about, that of Glenn Miller.
Early concerts at the Mersey Hotel in Manchester  were a success, and larger venues were found to play in, as the reputation of his band grew.

Yorkshire Television gave the orchestra a regular spot on the comedy show Sez Les.
As the music became more popular, Lawrence and his band started touring around the UK, which they did with great success for many years. Several records were made along with radio and television appearances on variety shows. The orchestra still tours and is currently led by Chris Dean.

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