The Rat Pack
by The Tap Pack
Love List is our new Spotify series where we ask friends of the Opera House to curate a playlist dedicated to a subject of their choice.
This week, Thomas J. Egan and Jordan Pollard, co-creators of The Tap Pack, whose swinging show featured in the Sydney Opera House Digital Season, dipped into the musical genius of iconic cool cats The Rat Pack. Thomas and Jordan have a love for Rat Pack swing music, but their admiration extends to various funk, jazz and soul tunes that have inspired them along the way. We hope you enjoy their top shelf selections.
▷ Fly Me To The Moon
Jordan: "As soon as he hits the first word, the crowd are with him. Frank Sinatra had a way with telling the story and his style is incomparable. I love this song and what it evokes and it has the best horn lines in the instrumental bit. Absolute Class."
▷ Won’t You Come Home Bill Bailey
Jordan: Thomas actually introduced me to this song and its fire cracking arrangement. Harry Connick Jnr and his silky voice backed with some amazing horns was a number in The Tap Pack show that we created around percussive golf clubs inspired by Fred Astaire.
▷ Medley: Drink To Me Only / I Love Vegas
Jordan: "I first heard this on the Rat Pack “Live at the Sands” CD and I remembering laughing out loud. Such joy, such cheek, such play with one of the great crooning voices in Dean Martin. Drink to me only has the perfect sense of fun and silliness that The Tap Pack love. This was, at one time, a song in the show!"
▷ Any Place I Hang My Hat
Thomas: "As a young kid I had a singing teacher that was a jazz musician. He gave me many CDs with his favourite singers on them and I developed a taste for Sammy Davis Jr. There was a Greatest Hits album that had this tune on it and I wore the CD down to dust. The lyrics of this song make me think of a smokey, down-lit, wandering performer with his hat worn low, dancing carelessly out on the street. An image that fits with The Tap Pack vibe perfectly."
▷ Sunday Jumps
Thomas: "Fred Astaire’s prop use and style was a great inspiration to us (as it would be as tap dancers) for this project. In Royal Wedding, Fred dances with a hat rack stand making it look like he’s dancing a delicate partner routine. We were inspired to put an idea like this in the show in which Jesse does a duet with a mic stand."
▷ Birth Of The Blues
Thomas: "Birth of the Blues was one of my favourite songs that the Rat Pack played. The team watched the Rat Pack singing this song and wanted to emulate their sense of play, specifically the way got a little rowdy with this song at the Kiel Opera House."
Jordan: "Another firm favourite to listen to and get ready for a show with, Lettuce have multiple tracks that get us excited. This track has an Oceans 11 vibe and we love it’s funky feel. A tune to rob a casino with (Don’t do that though!)"
▷ Birdland - Buddy Rich Version
Jordan: "There is not much to say apart from it being one of the greatest jazz songs ever made and played here by one of the greatest drummers who ever lived. Gets my blood pumping every time I hear it and it absolutely sizzles."
▷ Soul With A Capital ’S’
Thomas: "Tower of Power bring the funk and the groove on this one. We brought this song in for the show when we needed a really punchy number at the end of the show and Tower of Power always deliver. Great to tap with and fantastic to listen to as well."
▷ Talkin’ Loud
Thomas: "This track was put forward by Jesse (Co-Creator) and some of the first choreography was put to this. It’s fun, funky and energetic which matched the vision of the show that we had at the time."
▷ That Girl
Thomas: "This song was in the song as a mix of the old and new. All of us love JT’s music and his brand of slick cool. We still wish this was in the show but where do we fit it in?"
▷ The Phat Pack
Jordan: "Gordon Goodwin is a firm favourite we can rely on for amazing songs and arrangements. We use a snippet of this song in the show but the whole thing is fantastic and has a laid back feel but gets you going at the same time.
▷ Pick Up the Pieces
Jordan: "This is a funky little track that always gets played around The Tap Pack dressing room, whether it’s getting ready for a show or warming up at rehearsals. Great for getting in a groovy mood."
▷ Moses Supposes
Jordan: "It couldn’t be a playlist for us without acknowledging this song. This is what all of us at The Tap Pack know and love; Gene Kelly and Donald O’Connor singing and dancing and making it look easy. One of the most iconic numbers and it’s still as exciting and joyous today."
▷ The Best is Yet to Come
Jordan: "What kind of list would this be without the man who brought jazz and swing music back to the modern audience - Michael Bublé. He’s a great story-teller and a cool cat; a man we look up to at The Pack. "
▷ All The Way (Impressions)
Jordan: "Sammy Davis Jr. would have to be one of the greatest and most talented performers of any era. Here he is doing his thing, impersonating other celebrities seamlessly. He brings joy, he brings entertainment and I’m in awe of Sammy, especially in these moments."
▷ They Can’t Take That Away From Me
Jordan: "This whole album gave The Tap Pack a lot of inspiration. Robbie’s sense of charm and cheekiness really resonated with us and this track is witty and fun. Makes you want to be in the room with them at a party."
▷ The Way You Look Tonight
Jordan: "This is such a classic tune and I could have gone with many different artists for this list. I chose Maroon 5 because it is a perfect combination of Old meets New, which is what The Tap Pack is about. A great rendition and one of my all-time favourite songs."
▷ One For My Baby (And One More For The Road)
Jordan: "Last song for the list and usually the last song for the evening. Sinatra’s croon really strums the heartstrings in this and when it is in the show, I always make a point of stopping to experience the whole audience breath, relax and go on the journey with the singer. It's a moving and heartfelt song."
Thomas: "We both love this song and that’s why we both chose it to go in the list. We always have a cast member in the show who brings the classic, wiser gentleman vibe to the group. This song brings their qualities out and there’s really no better song for it."
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