Organ and Keyboard Cavalcade Review by Ian King

Issue 343 – May / June 2016

(CD) Chris Barber – Music From The Movies
Running Time 65 minutes – Price £9.95

Chris Barber - Music From The Movies
Chris Barber – Music From The Movies

Nowadays the release of a new theatre organ CD should be heralded with a fanfare of trumpets (and this one actually does it itself with the 20th Century Fox Theme pre-opener). We only had one theatre organ CD last year with Keith Beckingham’s “Any Other Business” and only one in 2014. So this may well turn out to be the theatre organ release of 2016.

The Wurlitzer featured here is the one installed at the Musical Museum, Kew Bridge. While that may not ring any bells with you, Kew Bridge was formerly known as the Brentford Musical Museum and prior to that, the organ was at the Regal/ABC, Kingston Upon Thames, before being hauled out of there in the early 1970s (your bell should have rung by now). We have stocked many CDs played on the organ when it was at Brentford from the likes of Carol Williams, Len Rawle, Matthew Ross and Donald MacKenzie.

The organist is new to me as it’s Chris Barber (not to be confused with the jazz trombonist of the same name). I don’t know if this Chris has produced a CD before, but certainly not one that has passed my way anyway. He did not just pick a random organ for his inaugural CD either, as he has been the resident organist at Kew Bridge for the past five years, during which time he has played to a wide variety of audiences, including intermission performances where he plays the preludes to classic films which are shown at the museum on their Sunday afternoon film series. As this is the theme of the CD, don’t expect too many surprises as far as the track-list is concerned as it contains many of the popular pieces you would expect to hear during a film intermission performance. Having said that, what you get is beautifully played and recorded and is a thoroughly enjoyable introduction to Chris, the venue and the organ.

Highlights include, “Strike Up the Band”, “The Shadow Waltz”, “Anything Goes”, “You Were Meant for Me”, “True Love” and “There’s No Business Like Show Business”.

FULL TRACKS: Strike Up the Band (Gershwin) • The Shadow Waltz (Warren) • Who Wants to Be a Millionaire (Porter) • As Time Goes By (Hupfeld) • Anything Goes (Porter) • Cheek to Cheek (Berlin) • Selection from Singin’ in the Rain (Brown) • All I Ask of You (Lloyd Webber) • Let’s Face the Music and Dance (Berlin) • Make Believe (Kern) • Night and Day (Porter) • You Were Meant for Me (Brown) • True Love (Porter) • There’s No Business Like Show Business (Berlin).

Review by Ian King from Organ and Keyboard Cavalcade Magazine.