Sunday 7th August 2016
£25.00 - £42.50
Review: Devotees of the Duke do him proud
Jack Massarik, London Evening Standard
The 16-piece Echoes of Ellington orchestra seized their big chance with gusto last night. After 14 years together, this unusual blend of seasoned swing-band veterans and younger studio session stars sounded as ready as they’ll ever be. Led by wisecracking clarinettist Peter Long, the London-based repertory band were relaxed yet well-drilled, playing with vigour, commitment and a refreshing willingness to entertain.
Their fast moving programme features little-heard rarities, including Jam-a-Ditty, Kalina and Stay Awake (from the Duke Ellington Plays Mary Poppins album, pronounced “Unclean” by purists) among such standards as Mainstem, Perdido, Caravan (cued as “The Camping Song”) and the classic theme once famously announced on Jazz FM as “Take A Train”. Adding smooth vocals to I Let A Song Go Out Of My Heart and some ladylike scatting to several of the above-named songs was Patti Revell, looking very much the part in her glittering spangled ballgown.
With five reeds, three trombones and four trumpets, the band packed a solid ensemble punch and had effective soloists in the Ellingtonian style. Nathan Bray provided the Cat Anderson high-note trumpet breaks, Jay Craig evoked baritone sax icon Harry Carney, tenorist Mike Hall made a worthy stab at the slithery tenor-sax style of Paul Gonsalves, and Long himself took Jimmy Hamilton’s clarinet parts.
Discreetly nodding his shaven head in time with the attractive blonde-haired one of his wife Ffion was a well-known politician. Some say he would have made a far hipper PM than the air-guitar playing rockhead in that post. Sadly, they’re probably right.
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