“Swing Into Christmas” is Down for the Count’s holiday celebration - a collection of our favourite Christmas tunes, alongside a few winter-themed jazz standards.
This album is special to us, as it’s the first time we have worked in the studio with string players. For years, we at Down for the Count have dreamt about adding strings to the line-up, and over the past year or so we have been lucky enough to work with City String Ensemble, led by Sophie Poteratchi. They are not only fantastically talented musicians, but they are also a wonderful group of people to be around, and it has been a joy welcoming them to the Down for the Count family. Huge thanks to Sophie and her team for their energy and positivity - we hope that this will be the first of many albums we record together, and we’re sorry that you’ve had to endure our questionable sense of humour and 15 years of “in-jokes”. For this album we’ve also expanded the regular Down for the Count line-up with more instruments, including trombone and percussion, and we hope that listeners enjoy the results!
This album is our second recorded at Cold Stores Studios in Kent, a brilliant space where we are always made to feel at home by studio engineer Ben Thomas. Also joining us on this album is our tour sound engineer, the wonderful Jack Childs, to whom we are enormously grateful for his hard work and meticulous approach to sound engineering, which has made a huge difference to our theatre shows over the past year. Recording an ensemble of this size, playing live in the
same room as each other, is an enormous challenge - and one which Ben and Jack took on with great enthusiasm, for which we are very grateful.
Another reason that this album is special to us is that, for the first time on a Down for the Count album, many of the tunes are not transcriptions of other people’s arrangements, but are the original work of our conductor Mike Paul-Smith (who spent his summer indoors writing Christmas music, loving every minute of it). We hope you enjoy listening to the new sounds we are creating - and we also hope that our original arrangements stand up next to the work of visionaries like Gordon Jenkins and Nelson Riddle, whose works are the basis of our Concert Orchestra sound and whose arrangements are also presented here. We owe a huge debt of gratitude to the composers, lyricists, arrangers, orchestrators and musicians who created, nurtured and developed the jazz music we love. We sincerely hope that we have done justice to the work of these extraordinary people.
We began planning this album in August 2019, and the first day of recording was in January 2020. As we all know, a few weeks afterwards the world changed. It’s been a difficult year for everyone, for one reason or another - and for those who love the arts, it has been particularly challenging. We know that this album can’t even begin to replicate the joy that live performance brings to our lives, but all of us at Down for the Count remain hugely grateful to our loyal fans (including the many new fans who have discovered us in lockdown). Your support and encouragement keeps us creative - this year more than ever before - and this is our Christmas gift to you.
released December 1, 2020
Studio engineers Ben Thomas & Jack Childs
Mixing Mike Paul-Smith ~ Mastering Jack Childs
Album artwork Mike Paul-Smith & Ellie Jones
Studio Photography John Rixon Additional Photography Kyle Keegan
Recorded at The Cold Stores, Kent on January 26th, September 5th & September 6th 2020
Produced by Mike Paul-Smith
Down for the Count bring the sounds of the Swing Era back to life - but this is no mere nostalgia trip. The band perform
each song in their own unmistakeable style, breathing new life into the best vintage music.
They are constantly in demand, regularly selling out shows at Ronnie Scotts Jazz Club, Pizza Express Jazz Club Soho, Le Caveau de la Huchette (Paris) and The London Jazz Festival....more