Review: The Jazz Bar Big Band, The Jazz Bar

The Jazz Bar Big Band,The Jazz Bar ****

THE term Jazz Bar conjures up different images for different people, but for many it brings to mind a stuffy, unfathomable world of cigarette smoke, polo necks and discordant improvised trumpet solos.

This could not be further from the truth for multi-award winning The Jazz Bar, which offers a diverse selection of accessible music in a welcoming and atmospheric environment. On various nights throughout the week you can hear Jazz, Blues, Funk, Soul, Acoustic and even DJ sets, but Monday night is the long established and ever popular Big Band night.

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The Jazz Bar Big Band is a resident 17-piece group made up of an ever-changing line-up of some of the most talented musicians from across the Central Belt.

Lively opener “Keep the Customer Satisfied” sets the mood for the evening, although the more mellow arrangement of the classic “Bye Bye Blackbird” and the delicate trombone solo of “It’s Just Talk” are equally as memorable.

But the highlight of the set is the band’s first (and surely not last) performance of “Sister Sadie” by Horace Silver, the gospel-inflected melody proving impossible to resist.

It seems almost unfair to single out any particular performers, as the emphasis was very much on the collective.

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However, special mentions should go to the charismatic Dave Batchelor, who added much colour to the trombone section, and to acclaimed pianist Brian Kellock, who selflessly remained hidden at the back of the stage throughout. It is hard to believe that for many of the musicians their first glimpse of some of the arrangements was barely an hour before the performance. As you would expect there were a few slight hiccups, but this just added to the fun and excitement of the evening.

Even for Jazz Club sceptics it would be difficult to imagine a better value, more entertaining way to spend a Monday evening in Edinburgh.

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