“It Don’t Mean a Thing if it ain’t got that Swing !”

A concert at Lauderdale House for the Akili Trust

A wealth of local young jazz talent came together to celebrate the spirit of Swing on March 4th at Lauderdale House, and captivated a capacity audience with their virtuosity and enthusiasm.

The latest in a series of Musical events presented by the Akili Trust, the evening invoked the spirit of the Jazz Age, with a repertoire ranging from Fats Waller, through Bessie Smith and Bennie Goodman to Django Rheinhardt and Polka.

Violinist Thomas Gould hosted the proceedings with engaging charm and led with all the grace, technique and invention for which he is so highly regarded. He was ably supported by a trio showcasing the sinuous and wailing clarinet of Ewan Bleach, the harmonic ingenuity and pulse of Dave O’Brien on bass, and the powerful rhythmic undertow of Jean Marie Fagon on guitar. Within moments of the band striking up, the normally subdued atmosphere of Lauderdale was uplifted as they set toes tapping and shoulders swaying to the already joyous mix Louisa Jones then added her distinctive smokey vocals, phrasing and interpreting with vitality, maturity and warmth.

Next, as Thomas Gould remarked, ‘What is better than one Jazz Violinist…Two Jazz violinists!’  he welcomed to the bandstand his old friend Nico Beedle, and the two of them traded choruses to lift the spirit of Swing still higher, engaging with their fellow players in marvellous improvisation and musical conversation.

Now it was the turn of Soprano Emily Phillips accompanied by Hester Crombie  to take everyone on a musical interlude that ingeniously explored a selection of other stylings from the era, including works by Weill, and  Benjamin Britten. Her tasteful choice of repertoire, clear and precise vocal lines and intimate delivery providing a refreshing counterpoint to the ensemble work of the Band.

Finally it was back to the band to dispense another eloquent dose of treatment from Dr. Jazz, once again showcasing their remarkable talents with aplomb.The audience was left beaming and eager for more, summed up quite simply as

“… Just fantastic – So when is the next one ?…”