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Sun, 26 May


Royal British Legion Beeston

MATT FORD with The Nottingham Jazz Orchestra

Matt Ford is the UK’s most experienced and in-demand Swing Era vocalist. A veteran of over 2000 Big Band concerts, with the likes of The Syd Lawrence Orchestra, BBC Big Band, Len Philips Swing Orchestra and John Wilson Orchestra, Matt’s career so far spans 4 decades.

MATT FORD with The Nottingham Jazz Orchestra
MATT FORD with The Nottingham Jazz Orchestra

Time & Location

26 May 2024, 19:30 – 22:00

Royal British Legion Beeston, 16 Hall Croft, Beeston, Nottingham NG9 1EL, UK


About the Event

Matthew Ford is widely regarded as the finest big band singer in the UK, performing for 5 years with the multi-award winning Syd Lawrence Orchestra. In 2006 Matthew was voted 'Best UK Male Big Band Vocalist' and nominated alongside Jamie Cullum in the inaugural Ronnie Scott’s Jazz Awards (Best UK Male Vocalist category).  As a soloist Matthew makes regular appearances with the RTE and BBC Concert Orchestras, and has also worked with the Northern Sinfonia, City of Birmingham Symphony, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, Halle and Philharmonia Orchestras. Matthew has worked under many conductors including John Wilson, Neil Thompson, David Brophy, Robert Ziegler, Richard Balcombe, Anthony Gabriele, Steve Bell, Sofi Jeannin, Larry Blank and Andrew Cottee.  As a big band vocalist Matthew is always in demand, working with the BBC Big Band, Grammy nominated John Wilson Orchestra and many others including the Ronnie Scott’s Jazz Orchestra. Matthew has been invited to perform for both domestic and international royalty. In 2009 Matthew broadcast with the BBC Big Band for the 30th Anniversary of BBC Radio 2’s ‘Big Band Special’ programme. His appearances with the RTE Concert Orchestra are regularly broadcast on RTE 1 and Lyric FM throughout Eire, whilst his album recordings have aired across the UK on Radio 2. 2010 saw Matthew invited to join the cast of ‘Singing in the Rain’ for the first ever concert performance of the original film score, reconstructed by John Wilson and performed at Festival Hall and in 2011 Matthew recorded at Abbey Rd Studios for EMI Classics on the album ‘That’s Entertainment’. The album is a celebration of the MGM musicals and was released to critical acclaim in August 2011. Later this year Matthew broadcast on BBC Radio 2 (Friday Night is Music Night) with West End Stars Lee Mead and John Barrowman, paying tributes to Irving Berlin and Gene Kelly.  A second appearance at the BBC Proms, in 'Hollywood Rhapsody', was broadcast live on BBC Radio 3 and later on BBC Four. 2013 also included a UK tour with the John Wilson Orchestra, and appearances with the Halle Orchestra. In 2014 appeared with the RTE CO (broadcasting on RTE 1 across Eire), toured the UK with 'Rags To Ritzes' (celebrating the music of Irving Berlin), and broadcast live on BBC Radio 2's 'Friday Night Is Music Night' (celebrating Doris Day's 90th birthday). Matt also made several festival appearances, including Aldeburgh, Henley, Malling and Lichfield. The year ended with appearances on The Alan Titchmarsh Show (ITV1), The One Show (BBC One), a UK tour with the JWO, a BBC Radio 2 broadcast on 'Big Band Special', and a TV broadcast on SKY Arts - 'Cole Porter in Hollywood'.  2015 began with Matt featuring on the acclaimed series 'Sound Of Song', broadcast on BBC Four, and has continued with appearances at Aldeburgh, Harrogate, Thaxted, Newry and Cheltenham festivals. Matt has also performed in concert with celebrated BBC Radio 2 jazz star Clare Teal, the Halle Orchestra, and the RTE Concert Orchestra, broadcasting with the latter on RTE radio. Matt completed the year with a nationwide tour, an award-winning live album recording (from the Royal Abert Hall) with the JWO, and a sold out performance celebrating Frank Sinatra's 100th Birthday with the London Concert Orchestra at The Royal Festival Hall.  In 2016 Matt made his France debut, broadcasting on Radio France in Paris on St Valentines Day with his own jazz trio and Le Maitrise de Radio France, broadcast on Lyric FM in Eire with the RTE Concert Orchestra, and performed a concert of the songs of the James Bond films with the Halle Orchestra. Following his 3rd BBC Prom, broadcast live on BBC 2, Matt travelled with the JWO to Berlin to perform in the Berliner Philharmoniker - a concert streamed live worldwide on the Digital Concert Hall, and completed with a UK tour with the JWO.  2017 saw Matt broadcast on BBC Radio 2 (Friday Night Is Music Night), perform with the Halle Orchestra on 3 occasions (An Evening with 007, From Broadway with Love), make his debut with the Ulster Orchestra, and tour with the John Wilson Orchestra.   In 2018 Matt made his Barbican debut, performed 6 concerts at the Royal Albert Hall with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, broadcast on BBC Radio 2 (Friday Night Is Music Night), BBC Radio 3 and toured the UK with 'Celebrate Sinatra'. December 2018 saw Matt perform to a combined audience of 40,000 people as he was invited to perform in Lyon (Symphonic Bond, with L'Orchestre Nationale de Lyon), Dublin, Wexford (A Swingin' Christmas, with RTE SO conducted by Andrew Cottee), and London (Carols at the RAH).

Last year once again saw Matt perform at the BBC Proms, live on BBC Four and BBC Radio 3 (The Warner Bros Story with the JWO), perform with the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra (My Funny Valentine), the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, make his debut with the Scottish Symphony Orchestra, and launch 2 albums - The Art Of Romantic Song & The Swing Thing.

In April Matt toured once again with 'A Celebration of Sinatra', performing at venues across the UK. Matt also appeared at the Newbury Spring Festival (Close To You), Northern Alborough Festival (Close To You), Harrogate, and Graffennegg Festivals (Celebration Of Rogers and Hammerstein with the JWO).

Matt has recently released a new Christmas Album Memories Of Christmas, recorded with National Brass Band Champions Foden's, and performs regularly in concert with them at UK venues including The Sage Gateshead.

In 2018 Matt made his Barbican debut (My Funny Valentine), broadcast on BBC Radio 2 and 3 from Royal Festival Hall (A Little Bit Of Lerner), performed 7 shows at the Royal Albert Hall including The Music Of Bond, with The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, and Christmas at the RAH to a combined audience of 25000 over 2 days.  Matt also appeared at the Sherborne Music Festival (Intimate Sinatra), and again at the Welsh Proms.

In December 2018 Matt made his debut with Orchestre-Nationale-de-Lyon (Symphonic Bond), completed a month long Nationwide concert hall tour celebrating the songs of Frank Sinatra (Simply Sinatra), and performed once again at Symphony Hall in Birmingham (White Christmas)

Matt's album release 'The Swing Thing' was accompanied in April 2019 by 'The Art Of Intimate Song', an album inspired by Sinatra's work with the Hollywood String Quartet.

2019 saw Matt perform again with the Halle Orchestra (Music of Bond), the John Wilson Orchestra (Gershwin in Hollywood at The Grange Festival), and feature in his 4th BBC Proms festival, with the John Wilson Orchestra (The Warner Brothers Story), broadcast live to a record breaking audience on BBC Four, also broadcast live on BBC Radio 3 and repeated in September on BBC Radio 2 for Friday Night Is Music Night.  Matt completed the year by making his debut with the Scottish Symphony Orchestra, performing once again with the Royal Phiharmonic Orchestra, and returning to The Bridgewater Hall in Manchester celebrating the music of Frank Sinatra.

2020 featured several concert appearances ; Royal Festival Hall and Symphony Hall with the London Concert Orchestra (Big Band Broadway, with Martin & Shirlie Kemp), The National Concert Hall in Dublin with the RTE Concert Orchestra (A Night at the Oscars), and Philharmonic Hall in Liverpool, with the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra (Songs from the Musicals).

Despite 2021 being a difficult year for the industry, Matt broadcast live from Abbey Rd Studio 2, taking the opportunity to record his new Big Band album in the iconic London venue.  The first single from the album opened at No.1 in the iTunes Jazz Chart, and inside the top 40 on the UK Singles Chart.  ‘From Abbey Road’ was released in March 2022.

That year also saw Matt guest with the BBC Big Band (Bond & Beyond), again headline the Simply Sinatra tour, broadcast on BBC Radio 2’s Sunday Night is Music Night (with the BBC Concert Orchestra), and feature on Sky Arts (100 Years of Big Bands).

2023 will feature performances with the Halle Orchestra, a tour of ‘100 Years of Big Bands’, a special concert at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, a debut performance with Opera North, and festival appearances with Mike Lovatt’s Brass Pack.

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