Down for the Count Orchestra

"A sonic ride back to the sounds of Capitol Studios in the 1950s"

DownBeat Magazine

The Down for the Count Orchestra is a vintage orchestra which performs the music of Frank Sinatra, Billie Holiday, Nat 'King' Cole, Ella Fitzgerald and many more, with a luscious sound combining strings, horns and sensational vocals.

Described by DownBeat magazine as "a sonic ride back to the sounds of Capitol Studios in the 1950s" and featuring vocalists and instrumentalists from the UK's leading conservatoires, the Orchestra brings the sounds of a bygone age back to life.

 The orchestra performs faithful transcriptions of some of the greatest hits of the Swing Era, and also breathes new life into jazz standards with original arrangements and orchestrations written by Mike Paul-Smith and Simon Joyner.

The orchestra is a result of a collaboration between the regular Down for the Count 11-piece All-Stars line-up and City String Ensemble. The flexible line-up, which can be between 20 to 45 musicians depending on the repertoire, has a beautiful sound which evokes memories of the golden age of swing music.

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About the Conductor

Mike Paul-Smith is Down for the Count Orchestra's principal conductor, orchestrator and arranger. Mike studied piano under the tutelage of former BBC Young Musician of the Year Anna Markland, and has performed at The Royal Albert Hall, Birmingham Symphony Hall and Royal Festival Hall.

As a musical director Mike's credits include Anything Goes, Oklahoma! (Bloomsbury Theatre), A Chorus Line (Pendley Court Theatre) and Carousel (The Old Fire Station). Mike was a founding member of Aylesbury Vale Youth Theatre, and music directed their first production City of Angels.

Mike has also directed the University of London Big Band (including at The Montreux Jazz Festival), and with various other bands has performed at The North Sea Jazz Festival, The London Jazz Festival and Twinwood Festival.

Mike founded Down for the Count in 2005.


"A sonic ride back to the sounds of Capitol Studios in the 1950s"

DownBeat Magazine


"Terrific to watch. It bought on… a much-needed cheery grin and not to mention a tear to the eye to see musicians playing instruments like what we used to."

Clare Teal

BBC Radio 2, on our lockdown video


"This is awesome!!!"

Michael Bublé


Our Other Ensembles

Down for the Count have two other vintage ensembles perfect for jazz club and concert hall appearances.

Press & PR

The Down for the Count Orchestra are available for concert halls, jazz club and theatre performances as well as private parties and corporate bookings.

To find out more about the Down for the Count Orchestra, get in touch using the form below or call manager Mike Paul-Smith on +44 (0) 7855 488 462.

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