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About:  Mike   ~  Josie   ~  Karl   ~  Lucy   ~  George   ~  Ann

For all enquiries contact: horace.silverman@gmail.com or text 07803197012

© Horace Silverman & The White Gardenias 2014

Horace Silverman and the White Gardenias

"I think your whole programme is delightful and a hugely enjoyable evening. The music and singing are superb. One could not hope for a better evening out."
Judi Hill,

"My husband and I watched a performance of the White Gardenias on 25th January at the Community Centre in Bedlington.We thoroughly enjoyed the whole repertoire. The lead singer, Josie adjusted her voice to sound exactly right for every type of song and we were moved by her soulful rendition of Shenandoah.  At the other end, Ann and Lucy were a joy to watch, as they put their hearts and souls into their performance. The boys and girls together came across to the audience as a wonderful blend of harmonies.We were well entertained and are looking forward to seeing them again.  Thanks for the enjoyment.”
Ivy and Gerald Leightley,

“An astonishing gathering of seasoned musicians whose styles and influences combine to breathe life into the songs and music of yesteryear. They add yet another dimension to the thriving North East music scene. Always a great response when we play their music on The Geordie Hour.”

Gary Hogg,
The Geordie Hour
Radio Tyneside

Horace Silverman and The White Gardenias feature quality musicians with a professional outlook. They clearly enjoy what they do and it is almost a crusade like mission to revive these amazing songs and place them back in the public domain. Each member of the group has the opportunity to display their own particular talent in the choice of material and they support each other very well. Individually and collectively they are a brilliant band and at each performance we have attended they have delighted the audiences. A wonderful night out....we are looking forward to their next date.

Andy and Pat Griffin, Shilbottle, Northumberland

Excellent musicians. Josie has a voice to remember and is a wonderful singer. The range of instruments played by members of the band is vast and very impressive.

Shaun Mellor,
Shiremoor, North Tyneside

Thanks for a super night and enlightening us with your music arrangements. Your music is refreshing and so delightful.

Sally Reed & David Stocks, Newcastle

Please thank HS&WG for yet another great evening’s entertainment. The Benedictine crowd were particularly challenging (aren’t all club performances?) but as ever the band were excellent. Please thank Josie for the fantastic ‘My Funny Valentine’ – we loved the new ones - and a word to Mike for his fluent playing on ALL instruments. The vocal harmonies were also superb.

Another wonderful night – see you again soon.

Andy and Pat

Thank you for a brilliant evening. Can't remember when I last enjoyed myself that much! What was self-evident was how "together" you all were (in every sense) and how much you were enjoying yourselves too. What a range of repertoire and musicality! I succumbed to the lure of the merchandise (I usually do!) and have been listening to you all again for much of today. It's sublime, subtle and a real joy to listen to. I'll be back!
Kind regards

Peter W

The committee of the community centre are very grateful to the band for giving so many people a great night, while bringing some much needed funding that is of particular importance now that Gateshead Council have pulled the plug on our funding.

Everyone agreed that it was a wonderful night and we hope to be able to stage such events as long as possible.In our efforts to maintain continuing use of the community centre we have established a Facebook page. We would be most grateful if you could send us a couple of photos from Saturday's gig showing the band and the hall full of smiling faces! Thank you once again for such a wonderful evening.

Quentin Scott
on behalf of Rowlands Gill Community Centre

Thank you for a memorable evening.We both loved the music. What lovely and talented people the band are. So thank you once again and we will see you again.

Dave and Vickie Hepple

I had another fabulous night out with Horace Silverman and The White Gardenias, this time at The Crescent Club, Cullercoats.

The quality of the singing and musicianship was wonderful.  I cannot praise it enough.

The selection and variety of songs and tunes were inspiring.  There were so many classic songs to admire and enjoy (and often to sing along to).  Great songs such as Fever, My Funny Valentine, Lullaby of Broadway, Love Is The Sweetest Thing, Single Girl and Those Were The Days were excellent, but then again everything they performed was superb.

The interaction within the band and with the audience is so refreshing, which contributes to a tremendously entertaining time.

So, if you love great music, I highly recommend an evening with Horace Silverman and The White Gardenias.

George Craig
Newcastle upon Tyne

Shock news:  Horace Silverman (bandleader) does not exist!  Mike Ridley came up with the name in a moment of inspiration – any resemblance to Horace Silver is purely coincidental.  The White Gardenias are a reference to Billie's trademark accessory, the ladies wearing suitable hair decoration.  The six-piece band are dedicated to preserving the music of the 20s and 30s.  The band members come from diverse musical backgrounds and this influences their choice and style of repertoire.

A relatively small, but enthusiastic audience assembled in a somewhat chilly function room in Heaton's Corner House.  A small bar was situated at the back of the room with the usual range of keg beers on display.  Your correspondent sought out the more sophisticated draught, Wolf, from the acclaimed Allendale Brewery, which was available in the main bar.

Comfortably seated, coat on, pen, pint and notebook ready, the stage was set: the band assembled from various corners of the room, where they had been greeting audience members.  It Don't Mean a Thing started the evening with a swing, lead vocals by Josie McDonough with melodic interludes from Mike Ridley's Telecaster.  This pattern broadly followed throughout the evening, with no jazz-style “solos” as such.  Taking a Chance on Love followed, then a bass-led introduction to I Got Rhythm, lead vocals by Karl Barlow. 

Lead vocals now passed to Mike for Is You Is or Is You Ain't My Baby.  Mike extolled the benefits of streaming services such as Spotify for both discovering unfamiliar music and re-discovering the delights of listening to an entire album, rather than single tracks in the digital download era.  In his exploration he had come across a piece of anonymous Italian baroque music – very effectively presented by the band as Italian Rant and featuring recorder, tambourine, mandolin, ukelele and violin with the rhythm section in support.  

At this stage an audience member asked for the bass amplification to be turned down, as it was masking the rest of the band. This request was a first for the band, but no offence was meant, or taken by, bassist Karl.  Donning suitable headgear (additional to the gardenia) Ann gave a rousing rendition of I Wish I Was a Single Girl Again, complete with that Country twang. 

The bandleader announced some Paganini. He corrected himself - he was looking at page nine!  We were however treated to a short a cappella (+ recorder) rendition of a canzonetta by Monteverdi; this segued into My Funny Valentine, with beautiful vocal rendition from Josie McDonough, (demonstrating skills acquired in former years as the Decca-signed singer Truly Smith) and subtle brushwork from George Snaith. 

Cooking Breakfast For The One I Love (Lucy – vocals) was followed by Hoagy Carmichael's One Night in Havana, apparently composed when he had some well-known jazz mates round to his pad.  Band members have an interest in film music with several examples during the evening, including Man of Constant Sorrow, vocals by Karl, with unsolicited accompaniment by an audience member's whistling hearing aid! 

Two renditions of local folksongs: Bonny at Morn and, Keel Row, were separated by GASbook favourite, Paper Moon.  The band nervously donned Tommy Cooper-style fez’s for Istanbul, but relaxed when there were no allegations of cultural appropriation.  More atmospheric guitar work from Mike and classy vocals from Josie finished off the first set with Shenandoah.

After an interval, during which the room had warmed up a bit, the second set commenced with a Bluegrass feel in Jerusalem Ridge.  Audience participation in Fever helped to make it finger clickin' good!  Jazz standard, Caravanand Love is the Sweetest Thing preceded the hardest (to play) number on the set list and the nearest to jazz (according to bandleader Horace, sorry, Mike) – George Shearing's Lullaby of Birdland.  More audience participation ensued in (brrrp, brrrp, brrrp) Busy Line.  When “we do it because we can” guitarists are in guitar shops they apparently like to test out a possible purchase (or not) with Paul Simon's Scarborough Fair, featuring (in this case) Lucy Falkenau on recorder.  A newly acquired, full wooden alto recorder was capably demonstrated on the Rolling Stones' Ruby Tuesday – first heard by Master Ridley at the age of 15 on the B side of Let's Spend the Night Together, a 45 rpm record broken (literally) in disgust by Mike's headteacher father!  You are My Sunshine and Ray Charles' Hallelujah I Love Her So were followed by I'm Coming Home Baby and The Beatles' The Word. 

Some fine clarinet by Mike Ridley on Sway brought us to the penultimate number for the evening,  Anyone Who Had a Heart.  The Klezmer tune Dem Trisker Rebns Khosid then transformed seamlessly into the final Those Were the Days.  Enthusiastic applause and calls for “more!” were rewarded with Summertime and Walkin' My Baby Back Home.

So what is this review doing on a jazz blog?  The gig was listed on BSH and there was certainly enough jazz content to keep the Jazz Police at bay.  The items chosen all admirably demonstrated the versatility and expertise of this diverse group of musicians.  All in all we were treated to more than two hours of music, enjoyed by the musicians themselves as much as the audience.  At the very reasonable price of £7.50 this amounts to 23 and one half pence for each musical item – cheaper than a download and a bargain, given the live environment!

Hugh C

Once again playing to a packed house, The Gardenias did not disappoint ! This superb collection of first-rate musicians and vocalists gave a sublime performance which will long remain in the memories of this reviewer and all those lucky enough to have been amongst the audience.

The band focus primarily upon various genres of music from the 1930’s but have extended their repertoire to include classics, as well as lesser known numbers, spanning several decades.

The evening’s opening songs set the tone for what was to follow…a heartfelt rendition of Peggy Lee’s ‘Fever’, followed by a stunning ‘Lullaby of Broadway’. Lead singer Josie McDonagh went on to exceed her own immensely high standards with the classics ‘The Way You Look Tonight’ and an amazing ‘Nightingale Sang in Berkeley Square’…one of my personal favourites but never sounding better than this!

Anne Ridley changed the tone of the set with a rousing performance of ‘Buttons and Bows’  which had the audience singing along with gusto. Lucy then wowed the audience with a really brilliant rendition of ‘Some of these Days’. Close your eyes and that was Sophie Tucker up there!

A local flavour was introduced with ‘Keep your feet Still Geordie Hinny’ and the band’s own version of ‘The Keel Row’. Real crowd-pleasers, again illustrating the Gardenias’ ability to change mood and tempo to great effect.

A plaintive harmonica solo from the multi-talented Lucy Falkenau introduced another audience favourite ‘Shenandoah’, again beautifully performed by Josie.

The first set concluded with ‘Istanbul’, reflecting the group’s worldwide musical influences. They are multi-talented artists who excel in whichever genre they choose to perform.

The interval seemed to come around far too quickly, but batteries recharged, the Gardenias began their second set in great form, opening with the wonderful ‘Don’t Get Around Much Anymore’ with Karl on lead vocal followed by ‘Isn’t it a Lovely Day’, then a change of tempo with ‘Rum and Coca Cola’ led by the superlative Lucy Falkenau. The band’s versatility and variation of style was once again brilliantly illustrated.

The rhythm section deserves particular mention. The ‘engine room’ of the band was faultless throughout both sets. George Snaith is a prime exponent of percussion. Karl Barlow must be one of the greatest Bass players I have had the privilege to witness. Add to this his vocal contributions on ‘Istanbul’, ‘Sweet Lorraine’ and ‘Nagasaki’ and we have an all round gem!

Anne, again, excelled with her brilliant performance of a very different arrangement of the old standard ‘You are my Sunshine’.

The evening concluded with a real change of direction. We moved into the swinging sixties with a series of hits from Roy Orbison to Cilla and finally the old Mary Hopkin hit ‘Those were the Days’. The audience reaction to this was a sight to behold with several folks almost dancing in the aisles , or at least in their seats !

The band finally called it a day with ‘Down in the River’ and I suspect only time constraint prevented them from continuing into the night and granting the audience their loudly expressed wish for MORE !

Finally, a word about Mike Ridley…AKA Horace Silverman . Mike is not only an excellent ‘front-man’ but an extremely talented vocalist (‘Somebody Loves Me’, ‘I ain’t got Nobody’ ‘Dream Baby’) and multi-instrumentalist of the very finest quality!

It was a rare pleasure to witness six such fine performers in a warm and welcoming environment.

Ray Dobson 2015

Chris and Sue's Wedding Reception Swarland Village Hall

Chris and I were totally bowled over by the band's performance.You totally made our night, even getting us dancing, we just don't do that! But your music is so foot tapping , swinging, you can't help but dance.Thank you for such a brilliant performance , our guests are still talking about how awesome you all were.

We loved the posters you also made, one is on display in our house.Thank you.Thank you. Thank you.


Birthday Party , The Sea Hotel , South Shields

Please thank the band for their fantastic performance last night. Everyone,all ages (even the noisy ones at the back) commented on how great they thought the band was.And I think you could see that a bunch of my aunties and uncles and my parents and their friends were just rapt.Truly an evening to remember.I managed to get the beginning of Shenandoah on my phone.It's the song that makes my dad cry and he welled up.Beautiful performance by Josie. It was a really great evening.Thanks so much.

Anne Carruthers

Perfornance For UA3 Longhirst Village Hall

Almost all the people who attended the musical evening on Saturday night have either spoken to me or emailed me with comments about what a wonderful evening it was.Many have said that if the singer could sing like that after suffering from tonsillitis, they would love to hear from her in full form! Well I was able to tell them all after hearing you at Pegswood. All of the comments made were extremely positive and made reference to the versatility of all of the musicians.I.m sure there will be more bookings to come.Good luck and I'm sure I will see you all again.Many thanks for a great evening.

Joyce Mills