Reviews

2014 Salute 70 Concert: Rodger Fox and Ray Woolf

John E Joyce


The Mulled Wine Concert, 24 and 25 May 2014

This was one of a continuing series of Paekakariki Mulled Wines Concerts organised by producer Mary Gow. The occasion coincided with the celebration of the US Marines camping at McKay's Crossing during the 2nd World War. The concert was a sell-out and the audience were mostly the silvered-haired generation (myself included).

The Rodger Fox combo consisted of a full rhythm section of professional players, - Daniel Hayles -piano, Rowan Clark -acoustic bass , Nick Granville guitar, Lauren Ellis -drums plus the leader Rodger Fox on trombone. The group was exciting, swinging , listening closely to the vocalists and enhancing what they were presenting - the only disappointing thing was at times in the faster swingers the drums were too loud, drowning out the vocalist and others in the rhythm section. I hasten to add that Ms Ellis is a fine drummer who excels at comping - the ability to add very tasty fills when the melody takes a rest- its an art and she has it. But please Lauren ,ease up on the volume.

The star of the show was undoubtably the veteran Ray Woolf, singer and entertainer extraordinaire. He has a rapport with his audience which is magical, grown over the many years of performing in stage shows, TV, Radio, clubs and gigs. When he comes on stage, does an introduction, does his first song you find you're all for him, you're sold. He would knock them out in Las Vegas.

The music was well selected and old favourites abounded. Erna Ferry started the vocals and her very professional singing warmed the audience up with tunes like Ain't Misbehaving, All of Me, I Can't Give you Anything but Love. Ray Woolf's selection included You Make Me Feel So Young, Goody Goody - in which he encouraged crowd participation, The Very Thought of You with piano accompaniment only. With this one he went among the audience picked out 2 or 3 woman and sang this love ballad to them exclusively. Then into Mac the Knife where he went through every key known to man and found some new ones.

And on the show went on- Birth of the Blues, Where or When, South of the Border and so on. Throughout all this Rodger Fox stood out in front, working hard, directing the traffic, setting the tempos, calling the cut-offs at the finish, playing solos and playing backing.

Over all it was a great concert, thoroughly enjoyed by the enthusiastic audience. Well done organiser Mary Gow - keep them coming!

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