Review: The Blagger's Guide to Jazz

Richard Pite, a unique figure in British jazz, sets the bar quite high with expectations of doubling, trebling etc on other instruments for those who share the stand with him. Mainly to be found behind a drum kit, Pite also plays sousaphone (sometimes still with three bodily extremities in contact with the drum kit). And double bass. And he writes scripts and promotes....

So how did the others in the band rise to the challenge?:

- Enrico Tomasso was on trumpet. And cornet ..and mellifluous trombone.. and lead vocals.. and backing vocals

- Pete Long was on alto sax. And all other members of the saxophone family and clarinet. And arranger.

-Georgina Jackson was the main vocalist (she had two of the musical highlights with Gershwin's I Love You Porgy and Nina Simone's My Baby...) and backing vocals and trumpet

-Nick Dawson was on piano. And solo vocal ...and backing vocal.... and a mean clarinet

-Dave Chamberlain was as ever flawless on bass. And no less impressive on rhythm guitar

Quite a band to run through the history of jazz.

The show also had Dave Quantick MC'ing and story-telling and leading proceedings and master of humorous digressions , with Simon Poole as producer/ co-writer/ sidekick and occasional straight man, and Kate O'Sullivan and Lewis McLeod impressively character-acting, voiceovering (in one case voiceover and out before the proceedings had finished) and impressionisting.

The show was partly educational, putting the case for jazz at its best, but also aiming for laughs. With excursions into X Factor, Les Dawson impressions, Formula One, Call My Bluff, fitting in a quick tour round Diana Ross's ego.

As a live show it clocked in at just over three hours including interval. It was fun, but felt tailored to the requirements of a live radio recording. The show is due to be broadcast in segments on Radio 2.

Cadogan Hall has other goodies coming up:

Richard Pite's nxt project is a Swing Era tribute
"The Vocal Groups" on 31st October

There is a
Buddy Rich Tribute from Pete Cater's topflight band on November 15th, closing its UK tour during the London Jazz Festival.

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