July 30, 2014

John Wilson Orchestra announce new Cole Porter album to follow Kiss Me Kate Prom

Staged musical on 2nd August will be a taste of what's to come on a disc of Porter's Hollywood hits.

With its annual Proms among the most hotly anticipated events at the Royal Albert Hall, The John Wilson Orchestra has become one of the UK’s most beloved music institutions: its 2012 My Fair Lady was the hit of the season.

This Saturday, to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Cole Porter's death, the group will stage a complete performance of Kiss Me Kate, Porter's Tony Award-winning musical based on Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew. And there's more where that came from. In October, the John Wilson Orchestra will go deeper into this territory with Cole Porter in Hollywood, the new album dedicated to one of the major composers of the Great American Songbook. 

“When I chose the repertoire I wanted it to be a mixture of hits that everyone knows – ‘Begin The Beguine’, ‘My Heart Belongs To Daddy’, ‘Easy To Love’ – and also I wanted to cover a wide period of time; hits from the 1930s right up to the end of Cole Porter’s career in the late 1950s,” explains conductor John Wilson.

Recorded in their original 1948 orchestrations at London’s famed Abbey Road studios, the songs on Cole Porter in Hollywood plunge listeners into the world of Frank Sinatra, Judy Garland, Bing Crosby and other stars seen in films such as Anything Goes, High Society, Can-Can and, of course, Kiss Me Kate.

The year 2014 also marks the orchestra’s 20th anniversary. With its symphonic forces, nine-piece percussion section, full jazz big band and guest singers direct from Broadway, John Wilson’s ensemble embodies the glitzy golden age of Hollywood orchestras. Perhaps Cole Porter himself put it best in the album’s final tune, ‘Now You Has Jazz’ from High Society: “I want you to lend an ear/cos I want you to hear/some shimmering sharps and flats.”

Cole Porter in Hollywood will be available from 6th October. Brits can download a sneak-preview track on iTunes. In the meantime, Kiss Me Kate is at the BBC Proms on Saturday, 2nd August.