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Today

As we all know there are no live gigs taking place in the immediate future. However, any links to jazz streaming that are deemed suitable - i.e. with a professional approach - will be considered for posting.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Café Society Swing @ Leicester Square Theatre, London. December 21.


Cherise Adams-Burnett, China Moses, Alexander Stewart (vcls); Harold Sanditen (narrator/vcls); Alex Webb (MD/comp/arr/pno); Sue Richardson (tpt/flug); Nathanial Facey (alt); Frank Griffith (ten/clt); Nathanial Cross (tmb); Jo Caleb (gtr); Miles Danso (bs); Shane Forbes (dms). Directed by Simon Green.
(Review by Lance. Photos courtesy of Alex Webb - China Moses [l] Alexander Stewart [r]).
Forget Les Mis or Lloyd Webber's latest this is the only place to be. It should run longer than The Mousetrap but it's only on for 2 nights and tonight is the last performance so don't procrastinate but Hurry on Down to this Playhouse Baby - to misquote a tribute to Nellie Lutcher by Adams-Burnett in this wonderful show.
As we waited to get in a girl came round dishing out programmes! Normally programmes cost almost as much as a ticket! (exaggeration!)
For those unfamiliar with the production it is based on the book Café Society: The Wrong Place for the Right People.
Café Society was the brainchild of Barney Josephson who before, during and after the second world war ran two clubs in New York (uptown and downtown). The first known establishments in America where races were allowed to mix which didn't go down well with the establishment who eventually got it closed down in 1947 (49?)
During it's halcyon years many stars and personalities from the world of jazz and show business performed and frequented the place.
This show pays homage to some of those singers and musicians interwoven with key events in the club's history.
Three fine singers, a band that steamed, and a narration that told the story effectively - well, semi effectiuvely. In the first act Sanditen's lapel mic only picked up the voice when his head was turned to the left but not when he turned away! This was fine for me in Row B but could have been difficult for those further back. For the second act he used a standard microphone and all was fine.
The repertoire was a mix of standards and originals by Webb who has created a legacy to be proud of. Unfair to single either singers or musicians out as they all contributed effectively but Griffith's clarinet on What a Little Moonlight Can Do and the final Strange Fruit by Moses were peerless but then again so was Facey's birdlike alto on the boppy What is this Thing Called Love. Just about everything was perfect (delete 'about').
Café Society Swing deserves to be seen at every jazz festival and theatre venue in the world - even New York!
Lance.

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