The Kings of Swing

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Many years ago, a very switched on copywriter was aware that HM King Bhumibol of Thailand was a jazz aficionado, a composer and accomplished musician. King Bhumibol had sat in for a jazz session with the late Benny Goodman, and it was too great an opportunity to miss, titling the photograph “The Kings of Swing”.

This month, the Mantra restaurant held another in their ‘Tribute’ series, this time being Barry Upton’s Swing Band tribute to the other “Kings of Swing” with over 40 numbers covering Frank Sinatra, Elvis Presley, Ray Charles, Michael Buble and more.

HM King Bhumibol once sat in for a jazz session with the late Benny Goodman, with the photo receiving the title “The Kings of Swing”.

Whilst a “swing band” could have up to 17 instruments, any jazz band with 10 or more is considered a big band, with the most common instruments in a big band being: five saxophones (two alto saxes, two tenor saxes, and one baritone sax), four trumpets, four trombones, and four “rhythm” instruments (piano, bass, drums, guitar).

And whilst Barry’s band was numerically down, at least there was an extra with Paul Rosenberg’s tuba in the mix at one stage. The saxophone player, Zinsax was another well known musician, having played at the Moon River Pub in its heyday.

With over 100 confirmed patrons for the evening, they were not disappointed with the five course dinner from the Mantra chefs.

The first course was titled “Red Carpet” and featured a ‘carpet’ of sliced tuna with salmon roe, champignons and Parmesan cheese. A novel starter for the evening.

For me, however, the second course was the dish of the night, with Alaskan King Crab and Hong Kong prawn ravioli with saffron-roasted macadamia nuts and Caribbean Malibu cream.

This was followed by a foie gras mango-duck getting everyone in the mood for the main course, while the Upton swingers were also playing “In the Mood” usually known as a Glen Miller classic, but with the abilities given to us all through Google, it appears that “In the Mood” was an arrangement by Joe Garland based on a pre-existing melody. Lyrics were added by Andy Razaf. The main theme, previously appeared under the title of “Tar Paper Stomp” credited to jazz trumpeter and bandleader Wingy Manone.

It is difficult to go wrong with snow fish, and this one with a crispy shiitake mushroom crust was exceptional.

The tune was finally sold in 1939 to Glenn Miller, who played around with its arrangement for a while with his band, with Miller himself contributing most to the final version.

In February 1944, the Glenn Miller RCA Bluebird 1939 studio recording of “In the Mood” was released as a V-Disc, one of a series of recordings sent free by the U.S. War Department to overseas military personnel during World War II, which undoubtedly added to the attraction and mystique of this number.

A new recording by Glenn Miller with the American Band of the Allied Expeditionary Forces (AEF) was also broadcast to Germany in 1944 on the radio program The Wehrmacht Hour.

The saxophone player, Zinsax was another well known musician, having played at the Moon River Pub in its heyday.

Miller’s “In the Mood” can now add Pattaya’s Mantra restaurant as another venue for this evergreen!

However, back to the food. The main was a choice of Angus beef short ribs or pan-fried snow fish, with the fish being the choice for both Madame and myself. Honestly, it is difficult to go wrong with snow fish, and this one with a crispy shiitake mushroom crust was exceptional.

The mains were followed by a cheese selection and dessert.

A foie gras mango-duck put everyone in the mood.

Even if “swing” was not your “thing” it was still a good evening’s entertainment, and there were a few diners who obviously had “swung” during WW2, and were enjoying the experience. In the groove as well as in the mood!

A thorn between two roses, Dr Iain Corness enjoys his time in the limelight.

The paparazzi caught these music lovers anticipating a great show.

Barry Upton (right) and the Swing Band perform for the Mantra restaurant’s latest tribute series.

Barry Upton’s Swing Band perform one of over 40 numbers they played during the night, covering Frank Sinatra, Elvis Presley, Ray Charles, Michael Buble and more.

The stars were out for the Mantra’s “Kings of Swing” tribute evening.