The Music of Disney

Adam Hall and The Velvet Playboys
The Sewing Room, Wolf Lane
reviewed by Neville Cohn

In a Sewing Room packed to capacity, top trumpeter and vocalist Adam Hall and The Velvet Playboys made magic of a succession of Disney delights. Again and again, members of the audience, clearly familiar with this or that song’s every word, silently mouthed the texts as they swayed to the rhythms of these timeless pieces. In decades of concert going, I cannot recall audience participation to such a degree. Led by Adam Hall, a top line-up of musos showed us how it’s done, not least Adrian Galante who, at an electronic keyboard, responded to every nuance of the music with virtuosic fluency and a faultless grasp of style. He’s good on clarinet as well. And Antony Dodos played the trombone as if it had been invented for him.

Laurels aplenty, too, to Kate Pass whose skill on the double bass was yet again admirably in evidence. Bronton Ainsworth’s percussive mastery on drums, too, was no less satisfying. And Mark Turner was as adroit on saxophone as on guitar. At one point, the players, led by Hall, came down from the stage and, in high style and without missing a beat, did a circuit of the venue to the clear delight of an audience which packed the venue to capacity. I particularly liked the band’s account of It’s a Small World by the Sherman brothers, those tireless composers who, incidentally, wrote more songs for Disney than any other song-writing team. Spoonful of Sugar was a particular delight, yet another golden offering of the Shermans – and, in the hands of these fine players, Superfragilistic flashed into delightful life – as did Randy Newman’s If I Didn’t Have You. At times, though, the venue seemed simply too small to cope with the awesome levels of tone generated by the players.