Last Thursday evening I rushed excitedly in my glad rags and highest heels to cocktail heaven, for the VIP launch party of Gin & Jazz night hosted by InterContinental London Park Lane.
On the third Thursday evening of each month, in the stylish Arch Bar overlooking Wellington Arch, patrons are promised classic cocktails and Golden Age jazz. Which is exactly what we got.
Warmly welcomed by our impossibly beautiful hostess (above), wearing a costume that might have been selected from wardrobe at the Ziegfeld Follies, we were offered a choice of taster cocktails mixed with Hendricks Gin. We chose the Alexander: a silky, smooth concoction of gin, white chocolate liqueur and double cream. And the same again please. Bite-sized bar food created by Executive Chef, Paul Bates was delicious and perfectly presented, notably some tasty mini-hamburgers
The star of the music menu was Benoit Viellefon. The dashing Frenchman in his brand new bespoke suit performed material from his recently released CD: Swing À La Mode.
With only half of his orchestra on stage (guitar, bass, sax/clarinet and trumpet), Viellefon and his boys entertained a full house with tunes from the hit parade of the era: It’s Only A Papermoon, All of Me and Sweet Sue amongst others.
Although not a tune associated with jazz of the 1930-1940’s, the standout track on Viellefon’s CD is Luiz Bonfa’s Manha de Carnaval. Set to French lyrics and with the inclusion of accordion, Le Carnaval maintains the intention of the original with a very pleasant twist. Benoit does Bossa. And he does it very well.
It won’t be inexpensive, but Gin & Jazz night at InterContinental London Park Lane offers a glamorous night in elegant surroundings; exotic cocktails, a choice of 25 different gin options and great Golden Era Jazz. Entrance is free but bookings are essential.
The next Gin & Jazz night at Intercontinental Park Lane is scheduled for Thursday, December 15 and features Emilia Mårtensson.
Swing a la Mode is the latest CD by Benoit Viellefon