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Graham James Dalby (born 2 December 1957 in Chatham, Medway, UK), is a British composer, conductor, band leader and vocalist, now specialising in Jazz Age Swing music from 1911 to 1965. In 1987 he established and led Graham Dalby and the Grahamophones. They have performed worldwide (not USA to date), recreating the sound and the look of the Golden Era of British dance band music. Since 1987 he has led the London Swing Orchestra as they are now known.
Graham Dalby was educated at Dover College, UK, and was commissioned in The Royal Hong Kong Police in 1977. He made his professional debut as a singer there as Christus in The Bach St Matthew Passion with the Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra in a live broadcast by RTHK on Easter Day 1978. He returned to London in 1980 to study singing and conducting at Trinity College of Music. During this time Dalby formed The Student Singers and Orchestra and gave many large scale choral concerts around London including Mozart Requiem, Beethoven Mass in C and Haydn's Oratorio The Creation with BBC's Brian Kay singing the bass solo. In 1984 Dalby conducted a large scale gala concert at The Royal Albert Hall of works by Elgar, Richard Strauss and Tchaikovsky in aid of World Wildlife Fund. In 1985 Dalby joined two professional music groups. The first, Nexus Opera toured Britten's opera Curlew River including a televised broadcast from Wells Cathedral for the Bath Festival and a BBC Radio 3 broadcast live from The Royal Albert Hall Proms. The second, Martin Best Medieval Ensemble, recorded Cantigas de Santa Maria for Nimbus Records and toured festivals in Britain including Salisbury Cathedral and St Alban's Abbey. That same year he was invited to perform as soloist with Serge Baudot and The Orchestre de Lyons in a broadcast (France Musique) performance of Traite d'orchestration et d'instrumentation for The Berlioz Festival at the Lyons Opera. From 1995 – 2005 Dalby was a member of several professional singing groups and recorded many BBC and film sessions such as Hans Zimmer's Crimson Tide and The Peacemaker, Evita with Madonna and even The Muppet Treasure Island. He recorded more than one hundred and fifty sessions with The Ambrosian Opera Chorus of recordings as varied as Kiss Me Kate for EMI to Semiramide with I Solisti Veneti for Erato Records.
In 1985 Dalby formed an early version of what was to become Graham Dalby and The Grahamophones – a Thirties style swing band fronted by an English crooner. The first overseas debut was at The Congreshalle, Berlin supporting Gloria Gaynor and James Last.
In 1986 Dalby wrote the theme song and appeared and presented the BBC2 video documentary, I'd Sooner Be a Crooner. (Producer Russell England). 1987 Dalby and his orchestra signed a deal with President Records and released their first album "We're Tops on Saturday Night" and were invited to perform at many international arts festivals including Henley Festival, Hong Kong Arts Festival, Molde (Norway) Jazz Festival and City of London Festival. Subsequent recordings with President Records followed: "Mad Dogs and Englishmen" in 1988 cat. no. PCOM1097, "Teddy Bear's Picnic" (BBC Radio 2 Children in Need single with Gloria Hunniford), "Let's Do It Again" 1990 cat. no. PCOM1108 and "Transatlantique" 1993 cat. no. PCOM 1128. From these albums Dalby wrote and arranged Sooner Be a Crooner, Hair of the Dog, Vo-Do-De-O Dodo and Thinking of You, all published by Kassner President.
The movie, A Handful of Dust, starring Alec Guinness and based on novel by Evelyn Waugh featured a scene with Graham Dalby at The Cafe de Paris playing his composition Sooner Be A Crooner. This was over-written by George Fenton's orchestral score although the visual scene survives.
In 1995 Dalby and his Orchestra were commissioned to record a comprehensive series of Ballroom Dance albums at Abbey Road studios . Some fourteen albums (including compilations) were recorded on the Let's Dance series ranging from Foxtrot to Jive and even Spanish Paso Doble. They were distributed by BMG and many are still available worldwide e.g. Let's Dance The Jive cat no.LTD102711. The three album set Dancing Neath The Stars issued in 2005 was released without Dalby's knowledge or approval.
In 1994 Dalby wrote and presented What Ho! Wodehouse, a musical biopic, for BBC Radio 2 The Arts Programme during which Dalby interviewed the Heritage Secretary Iain Sproat (author of Wodehouse at War d.2011) and proved, probably for the first time ever on air, that the accusations against the author P.G. Wodehouse on the grounds of collaboration and treason during WWII were spurious and that Wodehouse had no case to answer. This was subsequently toured live around British theatres including The Symphony Hall, Birmingham.
In 1998 Dalby wrote and produced The Story of Chartley an elaborate son et lumiere of 2,000 years of history which was narrated by the BBC World Service presenter John Touhey and commissioned by the Sheriff of Staffordshire David Johnson, the script, edited, is now published by the Staffordshire Tourist Board.
You're the Cream in My Coffee was used as the evocative and period-convincing theme song for The Mrs Bradley Mysteries in the late 1990s and it was recorded and sung by Graham Dalby and The Grahamophones in a re-creation of Jack Hylton's 1928 version. External Links Mrs. Bradley Mysteries on IMDb (Graham Dalby music consultant / music advisor / ... (5 episodes, 1998–2000)
In 1997 Graham Dalby recorded at Abbey Road Studio, The Great Legends of Jazz and Swing for EMI Records and performed the last number by a British Dance Band in British Hong Kong at 11:45 on The Peak on 30 June 1997. It was Mad Dogs and Englishmen. The album was re-issued in 1999 as Swing Classics on EMI.
In 2000 Dalby and his orchestra were asked to play for H.M. Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother's 100th Birthday at Windsor Castle and later featured in a BBC documentary The Queen Mum and Me shown on BBC1 during the Laying in of State of The Queen Mother in 2002.
In 2004 Dalby formed a large orchestra and chorus renamed The Esterhazy Orchestra for the 500th Anniversary of The Royal Warrant Holders Association in which he programmed and conducted an elaborate performance of five hundred years or Royal patronage through music.
In 2006 Dalby recorded (at EMI Olympia Studios) a debut album with the Esterhazy Orchestra for the eleven-year-old soprano Emilia – his daughter – then a chorister at Salisbury Cathedral – for Signum Records.
In 2012 Dalby, to mark twenty five years of recording, compiled and re-recorded an Anthology of Swing Music with The London Swing Orchestra of four albums of music from 1920 – 1965 in association with Upbeat Recordings upbeatrecordings.co.uk
- "The London Swing Orchestra". The London Swing Orchestra. The London Swing Orchestra. Retrieved 8 May 2012.