Concert Review – The Jive Aces

With their canary yellow zoot-suits, sharp, brass heavy sound, and repertoire of the some of the most toe-tapping songs from the past 50 or so years, The Jive Aces showed an appreciative, and large audience why they are one of the leading ensembles in their packed field when they played at Lichfield Guildhall on Friday May 12th.

The line up of Ian Clarkson on Vocals & Trumpet, double bassist Ken Smith, pianist Vince Hurley drummer Peter Howell, saxophonist John Fordham and Alex Douglas on trombone were joined by guest singer Beth Berwick Lowe, to show both the musicianship and stage craft that the band have developed since their first gigs in 1989. 16 releases, and an impressive showing on Britain’s Got Talent have kept the ensemble in the spotlight, but it is on the stage, where their clear love of the music is most evident.

Much of the music was fast, designed for dancing, and the heavy hitting drums and double bass led the charge through such songs as Jive, Jive,Jive, Choo Choo, and Boogie Country, whilst singalong opportunities were provided in such songs as Mack the Knife, and Bugle Boy of Company B, which showed the pure vocals of to their best effect.

Glenn Miller’s In The Mood showed the ensemble brass of to great effect, as did Tuxedo Junction, whilst three big hitters in the feel-good Bring Me Sunshine, Wanna Be Like You from the Jungle Book soundtrack, and Singing In The Rain showed the humour of the group, alongside their seriously finely honed musical skills. Fish Fingers was a jump boogie number, that was prefaced by a master-class in piano playing, and stage jumping from Vince Hurley.

Review by Ben Macnair and photography by David Jones

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