CD cover - Whatever it takesWhatever it takes


Think pink. Defeat breast cancer. Simple as that.

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Boobs & Brass
Soloist: John Lee
Conductors: Richard Evans, Derek Renshaw, Jonathan Mott
Featuring: Carol Jarvis
MHP Recordings: MHP709
Total Playing Time: 67.39

Think pink.

Breast cancer is an egalitarian killer. It knows no boundaries, cares not for gender, race, age or wealth. In 2008 over 12,000 people in the UK died of it – men as well as women.

It is however, a disease that is slowly, but surely being beaten – and beaten by the work not only of amazing advances in research and treatment, but also in education and by increased, informed awareness.  

More informed

And nobody has become more informed, or more aware than the wonderful bunch of girls that form Boobs & Brass and flugel star John Lee.

Getting the message across about breast cancer has seen the partnership produce this CD, whose title track sums up the philosophy of people such as the members of the band, John, and many others, who support the venture to help in conquering the disease.

Personal stories abound of hope and aspiration – as do those of heartbreaking loss. There cannot be more appropriate title than ‘Whatever it takes’.

Pink hot cakes

It’s sold like pink hot cakes too – thanks to a marketing technique from the girls in particular that would win them the place as Sir Alan Sugar’s apprentice. All the hard work and all the proceeds go to Breast Cancer charity – a sum that now exceeds well over £60,000.

The recording is a fun affair – and the playing isn’t bad either, with John in particular, a classy, indefatigable solo lead.

You can imagine that conductors Richard Evans, Derek Renshaw and John Mott had their hands full is the most splendid of ways. John must have been mothered like a long lost son.

Easy listening

The 18 tracks are unashamedly easy listening and very tuneful – from a cracking old thumper march ‘Irresistible’ (taken at a leisurely ladies swagger tempo by Master Evans – marching in ‘heels’ is much more difficult than army boots) – right the way through via stops from little bon-mots from Gershwin and Puccini to Brodsky, Porter, Bacharach and Streisand.

There is something for everyone – just as it should be.

The transcriptions and arrangements are played with a fine sense of informed style by John (as well as a great bit of playing from Carol Jarvis on trombone) and the band accompaniment is delicate and well balanced – helped by quality producing from the MHP sound guys.  


Original brass band compositions are featured too, with Alan Fernie’s ‘Brand New Day’, Peter Graham’s ‘Doyle’s Lament’, and the hymn tune ‘Stannington’ all performed with broad hued warmth and tasteful phrasing.

It’s the ability of the soloist to mould his sound and style that will impress the cognoscenti listener though – from the plaintive ‘Oh My Beloved Father’ through to the country and western Crystal Gale classic ‘Don’t it Make my Brown Eyes Blue’, the bravura ‘Evergreen’, the uplifting ‘Hallelujah’ (with neat keyboard accompaniment) and the ever so slightly spooky ‘Misty’.

It’s very classy playing – understated, refined and elegant.

The only disappointment is that despite the brilliant efforts of Boobs & Brass, John (who funded this recording himself) and everyone else associated with this great release, there is still such a continuing need to inform and educate, as well as keep raising money to defeat breast cancer.

Not in vain

The efforts though are not in vain – even if the ultimate goal may well be some years away yet.

On 22nd July 2010, two driving forces behind Boobs & Brass, Maggie Betts and Jane Nichols, will be donning their best attire as they proudly represent the charity at a Buckingham Palace Garden Party.

Let’s hope they get a chance to ensure Her Majesty is wearing a bit of pink too.

Iwan Fox

What's on this CD?

1. Irresistible, W Rimmer
2. Our Love is Here to Stay, Gershwin arr Richards
3. Oh My Beloved Father, Puccini arr Moore
4. Don't it Make my Brown Eyes Blue, Leigh arr Barry
5. Doyle's Lament, Peter Graham
6. Right Here Waiting (Whatever it takes), Marx arr Fernie
7. Stannington, Trad arr Moore
8. A Brand New Day, Alan Fernie
9. Alfie, Bacharach/David arr Fernie
10. The Shadow of Your Smile, Mandel and Webster arr Wilby
11. I Don't Know How to love Him, Lloyd Webber arr Walker
12. Evergreen, Williams/Streisand arr Ashmore
13. Hallelujah, Cohen arr Barker and Lee
14. Misty, Burke and Garber arr Barry
15. Send in the Clowns, Sondheim arr Fernie
16. I've Got You Under My Skin, Porter arr Freeh, featuring Carol Jarvis
17. I'll Walk With God, Brodsky arr Richards
18. Thank You, Carolyn Oldershaw

Total Playing time: 67.39

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