July 21, 2014

Review of The National Youth Jazz Orchestra With Clare Teal (EDP July 21)

Corn Exchange, King’s Lynn

It was hot work on stage at this sell out King’s Lynn Festival event for band leader Mark Armstrong but the band was hotter still. Big band jazz might be approaching its second century as a popular art form but these 22 musicians, all aged under 25, and with women soloists as well as men, brought new life to the genre. While the enthusiastically-applauded classics – ‘Love For Sale’, ‘Embraceable You’, ‘That Old Black Magic’, ‘Lady Be Good’, ‘Cheek to Cheek’ - were all present, finger-clicking correct and in splendid order – the band was equally impressive in Rolling Stones territory (Willie Dixon) a Columbian tempo or the stomping – and complex - contemporary jazz rhythms of Siegel’s MBadgers - and as assured giving a razzamatazz showbiz entry to guest singer Clare Teal as they were providing a torch-song pianist for her on ‘Secret Love’. Teal – voted British Jazz singer of the year 2005 and 2007 - was the highlight, presenting evergreen songs like the warm-hearted yet super-cool Radio 2 pro she is, then hot as Africa singing ‘I Just Wanna Make Love To You.’

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