Monday, 10 May 2010

Cheltenham Jazz Festival 2010 Reviews

CRAIG CHARLES Park Campus, 28 April 2010
BBC6 DJ and well known Red Dwarf Star, Craig Charles, put on his favourite selection of funk and soul music to welcome in the Jazz Festival. His DJ set at Park Campus on 28 April, brought a large crowd, who were able to dance and jive to the classic tunes from the 60s and 70s as well as newer artists. His enthusiastic start: “Let’s tear the roof off,” was embraced by the crowd as everyone got to their feet. His music choice was enjoyed by all with a variety of eras and sounds and good sounds from the decades. Craig’s lively spirit was brought through to the crowd and really contributed to the lively atmosphere. He also brought to the stage The Craig Charles Fantasy Funk Band, which with the help of his radio listeners, formed last year and will be performing at both Glastonbury and the Big Chill festival this year. The evening ended at 2am with everyone leaving after being truly funked out.
Rebecca Waters

ELAINE PAGE, Cheltenham Town Hall, 29 April 2010
For the first time in her career Elaine Paige also known as ‘The First Lady in Musical Theatre’ chose to perform a jazz set in place of her trademark theatre songs, and what a jazz artist she turned out to be. She performed many classic jazz songs with all the professionalism and passion she shows in her famed West End concerts and shows. She looked particularly stylish in a sparkly blouse, skinny black jeans and feisty heels as she walked on stage to perform her first song. She opened with the classic ‘All That Jazz’ and like a true jazz artist she strutted and bopped about the stage injecting real passion into the performance. Her stage presence and power seemed to shrink the venue so the performance took on a more personal and intimate feel even against the Town Halls grand surroundings. Her set list compromised of many favourite Jazz songs from her childhood, as her parents were keen jazz fans. She dedicated the song ‘Blue Skies to her father in memory of singing the tune together when she was a child. Elaine Paige put on an excellent performance and looked incredibly at ease as a jazz artist. I would thoroughly recommend seeing her in concert if you like powerful vocals, excellent stage presence and a sense of humour. She may be the first lady of musical theatre but for tonight, she was the first lady of jazz.
Steven Potter

IMELDA MAY, Cheltenham Jazz Arena, 29 April 2010
The first to play the 2010 Jazz Arena was sassy songstress Imelda May. A seated encounter made for a lack of energy in the arena but Imelda made up for that with her bubbly spark. She performed title track Love Tattoo as the first from the 2008 album along with Big Bad Hansom Man and an array of others. Smokers Song was a highlight and got people going with its on cue chuckles, put on perfectly. Knock 123, a song about after-life love was performed like a lullaby; the beautiful ballad broke up the lively set list. Imelda has the ability to play true to her rockabilly recordings, adding a little extra so you know she's authentic. The bluesy single Johnny Got A Boom Boom went down a storm. Her covers included an unexpected Tainted Love which added some spice to an already spectacular performance. Teasers for the forthcoming album included Pullin' The Rug flaunting funky bass lines, and a gospel inspired tune that lead to a vocal focused serenade, in which the feisty front woman playfully challenged the audience in echoing her hums. It's no wonder she was back following high demand and she was more than thankful to be here, she said: "I want to thank the organisers for welcoming us, and the support they give to all kinds of bands, big and small. This is such a fantastic festival that they put on every year. It's lovely to be back, thanks for having us again."
Rose Churchill

THRILL COLLINS, Cheltenham Budvar Stage, 29 April 2010
Festival goers got a taste of the local talent when Thrill Collins took to the stage on the opening night of the festival and all new Budvar stage.
Despite the rain Thrill Collins received a hefty response out of the audience with the spirit of the 80s and 90s! Jazzing up songs by the likes of the Backstreet Boys, Christina Aguilera, Peter Andre and Dolly Parton they forced the festival spirit into everyone. Cindy Lauper's Girls Just Wanna' Have Fun put a bop in everyone’s bonnet early into their set and followed through with Shaggy's It Wasn't Me, performed with a humorous swagger. Killing In The Name Of (the kiddie version!) by Rage Against The Machine, last year’s Christmas number one, was a surprising choice but certainly didn’t fall short of entertaining. Mocking the summer weather that was vacant for the evening, Mysterious Girl was an amusing and enjoyable addition to the set list. Englishman In New York originally by the police and Lionel Richie's Hello toned down the jokes which exposed a serious side to the Cheltenham trio. The funky Thrill Collins was on top form, their unique interpretations and witty comments had everyone laughing and no-one left before the end. The Prince of Bel-Air theme tune closed the first night on the Budvar stage, though I'm not sure jazz lovers of Cheltenham really knew where it came from. Thrill Collins could jazz up or dust down just about anything. They don't tag themselves 'Cheltenham's best band' for nothing, and for free.
Rose Churchill

TRIO VD, Cheltenham Town Hall, 30 April 2010
According to the Jazz Festival brochure Trio VD are ‘one of the UK’s most thrilling live bands’ which I certainly agreed with after the first track. They are a young band who are uncompromising, exciting, raw and powerful and are here to destroy any preconceptions of jazz you may already have. Don’t get me wrong Trio VD won't be to everyone’s taste and would no doubt be written off as simply aggressive noise by some people but for me it was the most intense spectacle of jazz fury I have ever witnessed and I would certainly see them again. By incorporating contemporary electronica, alternative rock and improv they have created some of the freshest sounds in the jazz scene that has allowed them to rapidly make a name for themselves. If you are a jazz fan or see yourself as an open-minded music lover I cannot tell you how important it is that you see this band. If you need to know how intense this band is someone actually fainted at the back of the hall and lead to a rather grumpy looking gentleman shutting one of the doors with a look of utter distain on his face. Trio VD has really hit upon the primal instinct of jazz improvisation, With break-neck drumming, jagged guitars and raw saxophone sounds Trio VD have taken jazz and totally re-molded it into something extraordinary which I like to call brain melting jazz.
Steven Potter

MC3 ORGAN TRIO, Budvar Stage, 30 April 2010
This year’s Budvar Brewed Jazz Competition Winner MC3 Organ Trio took to the Budvar stage in their own set to showcase their explicit talent. Despite their slightly odd nature, and the strange faces they pulled whilst playing, this band showed their audience exactly why they’d won the competition. Using some experimental techniques they produced some fascinating jazz and funk rhythms. With one of the members being a Birmingham Conservatoire Jazz graduate and another soon to follow, you can easily tell why this band made a huge impression on the judges. Playing their lengthy numbers such as DIRTY RAT and FIVE BAR SHORT they blended the unusual sound of an organ into funky jazz beats. They also did their own cover of Charlie Mingus’ GOODBYE PORK PIE HAT which went down well. MC3 Organ Trio managed to charm their audience with their unusually long-lasting beats and wonderful solos yet at the same time kept it fresh and new. Having recently toured with award winning saxophonist, Tony Kofi, this trio more than showed they deserved their own spotlight this time. Medals should be awarded to them for their ability to play their instruments with confidence and style. Matt Chandler, the guitarist, played some great guitar improvisations which complimented the songs perfectly. Cheltenham Jazz Festival’s Budvar Stage is definitely hearing the best of the rising jazz stars out there, the MC3 Organ Trio is without a doubt one of those bands.
Katherine Bayly

ERIC BIBB, Cheltenham Jazz Arena, 30 April 2010
Country Blues artist Eric Bibb started off his UK tour at the Jazz festival on Friday night. His appearance brought along a full house of fans into the Jazz Arena. His new album Booker’s Guitar was the main focus of his set with many of his songs being from the album. Eric Bibb said: “Booker’s Guitar is a series of songs which tell stories about certain times and places. It’s a tribute to music and musical heroes. I write songs, which to me have the feelings and the feel of those times and places.” With all of his passion and soul in his music Eric Bibb really connected with the crowd. His unique acoustic guitar playing and his classy American feel really enabled you to engage with the songs. The sound of his voice, so natural and beautiful really enables you to feel at ease and calm. The soul within his music really gives you an appreciation for his work and style. He performed the title single from the Booker’s Guitar album, which is a true story based on the finding of Booker Whites guitar. The individuality and uniqueness to his voice enchanted the audience and the way in which each song tells a story really allowed you to get involved. Bibb collaborated with Grant Dermody, a talented harmonic player, who is also featured on the new album. The harmonica and Bibb’s country American blues really complimented each other creating a passionate musical atmosphere throughout the arena. He excited to an overwhelming cheer from an audience who really did see a spectacular show.
Rebecca Waters

DAVE HOLLAND, Cheltenham Town Hall, 30 April 2010
The great collaboration between jazz bassist Dave Holland and flamenco guitar maestro Pepe Habichuela brought the heart of Spain to Cheltenham, in their first performance outside of Spain. Dave Holland said: “We’re so happy to be here. It’s such a special moment, as it only began a few years ago with small concerts in Spain and now we’re here performing in front of you all. We’re so happy to be able to share this with you.” The pair, along with 2 percussionists and guitar player played a selection of traditional Spanish tracks including a Tango and a Fandango. Dave had written his own Spanish inspired pieces, including Joy Ride and The Whirling Dervish. Dave’s talent on the double bass enabled him to transform the songs with his unique style and create a very individual sound. Throughout the performance Spain was brought into the hearts of the crowd with Pepe’s flamenco style. His passion and soul within the music really allowed him to captivate the audience. Both Dave and Pepe had written their own individual pieces to perform as well as performing together as a band. Joy Ride, composed by Dave Holland, brought traditional Spanish flamenco together with contemporary jazz to create a unique sound and style. Together their work created a new musical atmosphere with the crowd being swept away with the culture of the sounds. Dave Holland and Pepe Habichuela and their band are recording their first album Hands, which will be due for release in June.
Rebecca Waters

CATTLE MARKET, Budvar Stage, 30 April 2010
Cheltenham saw the return of last year’s successful Budvar Brewed Jazz Competition Winner, Cattle Market, to this year’s Jazz Festival. Claiming they hadn’t performed in nine months and this was a reunion gig for them, no-one could have expected what was to come. As the seven piece band, who formed at Bristol University, kick started their slot with DANCE OF THE CLUBFOOTED written about Bristol University’s middle class population, the whole atmosphere under the tent lifted. Playing high spirited jazz with a twist, this band had everyone’s feet tapping and bodies swinging. Introducing bongos played by an astrophysicist, Elliot Sefton-Nash, and a trumpet dual in their last song, Cattle Market’s music is as mad as their name. You’ll definitely start to agree after hearing some of their song names; BOOZE AND ONIONS and YOU’RE ONLY A PRIEST WHEN YOUR GIRL’S AROUND. Producing a sound loud enough to be that of a full orchestra, Cattle Market’s young members are wizards of jazz, combining bongos, trumpets, saxophones, drums, double bass and keyboard to make enthusiastic eccentric Latin jazz. Ending on a high and with a huge crowd, the band did something peculiar and exited each instrument one by one before bringing the whole band back together again for a big finale. Cattle Market is the making of a great band with their fun style and crazy titled songs they definitely gave the audience a good show.
Katherine Bayly

MEGAN HENWOOD, Budvar Stage, 30 April 2010
Crowds were pleasantly surprised as BBC Radio 2’s Young Folk Musician of the Year 2009 took to the brand new Budvar stage, opening the Jazz Festival’s second night. Megan Henwood’s Joni Mitchell infused music shows she’s a 21-year-old with something to say. Her long red hair and hippy style clothes gave her audience an insight into her music before she’d even struck the first note. Opening with her debut single WHAT ELLIOT SAID Megan demonstrated straight away the beauty in her vocals. The simplicity of the guitar next to such a raw voice captured the crowd instantly. As people hushed and turned to the stage, she played three numbers including SHAPE AND COLOUR and MAKING WAVES. Each song had a point to make; one was about appreciating the “pretty things in the world” as Megan described it. The other was a protest song. For a timid person, her vocals were soothing and relaxing yet powerful. They were perfect songs for a festival and some sunshine in the late afternoon. With only herself and a guitar, Megan more than interested the crowd; she held their attention with her melodic and memorable tunes. The basis of her music lies in the folk tradition leading to you being able to hear her influences seeping through, such as the likes of Bob Dylan and Nick Drake. However she produced perfect summertime music and if this performance is anything to go by, Megan Henwood has many a great thing ahead of her.
Katherine Bayly

MICHAEL PARKINSON MUSIC NIGHT - SINATRA, Cheltenham Town Hall, 30 April 2010
The world famous BBC Concert Orchestra coupled with the John Wilson Big Band came together to celebrate the life and work of singing and acting legend, Frank Sinatra. The night also included a narration of Sinatra’s life from TV icon Sir Michael Parkinson who introduced each song and entertained the audience with various trivia from Sinatra’s colourful and sometimes controversial life. Three incredible Sinatra tribute artists sang us through the most memorable and famous songs of his career including Swinging Down The Lane, New York New York and of course My Way. The acts were without a doubt as close to the real thing as you can get. Special guest star included Buddy Greco, onetime member of the famed Rat Pack who treated the crowd to some of his favourite Sinatra classics and closed the evening with an emotional rendition of My Way that raised hairs and hearts throughout the audience. This was a truly glamorous and splendid affair the arrangements of Billy May and Nelson Riddle were breathtaking and the orchestra themselves really gave each song the class and emotion that Sinatra put into every one of his performances. For a Frank Sinatra fan this was truly an amazing evening and a once in a lifetime experience, but then what do you expect, in the words of Frank Sinatra himself; it’s all or nothing at all.
Steven Potter

KIT DOWNES TRIO, Cheltenham Town Hall, 1 May 2010
Kit Downes Trio is a tight unit consisting of Kit on piano, Calum Gourlay on Bass and James Maddren on drums. They have been attracting much acclaim within the jazz community for a while now and their set at the Cheltenham Jazz festival proved that the praise is much deserved. Opening their set with the song Jump Minzi Jump, the Kit Downes Trio demonstrated a perfect balance of subtly and dramatic temperament with an undercurrent of funk. But it was the gentler songs such as Golden and Brixton which shone the brightest. Kit gets by with the minimal of notes, and often the songs boast a lot of spaces but are always fluctuating in tempo.
The diversity was electric though and the change of pace provided by the upbeat song Tambourine showed the different sides that the band had clearly developed. It is evident that the players have a unique synergy and a keen interest in exploring other places within the music. James Maddren was a highlight with his often subtle but impressive playing which was often the most exciting parts. The group often attracted applauds due to their impressive improvisation as well as their compositions
Ashley Russell

NIKKI YEOH TRIO, Cheltenham Town Hall, 1 May 2010
Postponed after technical difficulties at the Town Hall in 2009, Nikki Yeoh and special guest John Surman return to perform an especially composed set for Cheltenham Jazz Festival.
And it was well worth the wait. Drawing on Surman’s idea for a representation of the seven sins, Yeoh wrote some magnificent material using the ideas of scenarios over the emotions themselves, so as not to glorify the misdemeanours. Heavy, slow drumming set a sluggish pace which really captured sloth, with a listless bass line and Surman’s sax setting a clumsy scene the high pitch of the piano wove perfectly in-between. Envy was a highlight of the set, where it initially sounded to represent a secret envy which eventually warped into a raging jealousy. Bad Cake was composed for gluttony, flaunting a funky rhythm but slowing the pace with timid clarinet and high keys giving the essence of shame. Throwing in a track for love through an old composition, Dance Of The Two Small Bears was powerful, passionate, and playfully executed with the trio of keys, drums and bass. The final sin of lust conjured the image of a 80s burlesque nightclub, We-Hey captured lust in the form of funky soul. The music managed to, like the latter, set the scene of its trait. You could hear the presence of yearning and desire. The eight song set gave every sin a vice, and Yeoh’s amazing talent for writing and capturing a scene really shone through. Surman was praised highly by onlookers who couldn’t get enough of his sax and clarinet collaboration.
Rose Churchill

PHANTOM LIMB, Cheltenham Jazz Arena, 1 May 2010
The bluesy southern soul of Phantom Limb, with its gospel essence was a pleasurable addition to the jazz festival line up. Opening with Good Fortune from their first album, a tender guitar solo and powerful vocals made a great introduction to their unique sound. A hint of folk was present in Tumbling Down, where Yolanda Quartey and her backing vocals harmonised perfectly making an ear inviting group effort. The intro to Run was carried by gentle bass lines and beautiful guitar, whereas Waiting Around To Call really flaunted the commanding vocals of Quartey and was delivered with authority over the other songs. Don’t Need To Say Goodbye was a new track played for the jazz festival, and will appear on the new album, being recorded in June. Its truthful lyrics and pounding bass made for a catchy song, and confirmed that Phantom Limb are far from exhausting their creative abilities. A faultless cover of Angel Of Death, originally by Hank Williams was the slowest song of the set, with Grieving for Show following, treating the audience to some more new material. All the time onstage Quartey and her band looked like they were thoroughly enjoying the experience, playing a 13 song concert. The harmonic vocals and gospel enthused Withering Bones, played towards the end, has appeared on every album and was a great choice to start the winding down of the show.
Rose Churchill

THE DESTROYERS, Cheltenham Jazz Arena, 1 May 2010
There were high expectations at the lunchtime slot at the Jazz Arena on May 1st, as the much hyped 15-man band the Destroyers took the stage. Though they stand out from the other acts at the Jazz festival due to wider musical influences and a stranger sensibility, they were nonetheless welcomed with great enthusiasm. The Destroyers aim was apparent from the first song, they were there to have fun and create an atmosphere of mischievous intent. Armed with catchy choruses and a kooky sense of humour, they fired through different genres effortlessly. The fusion of different musical influences combined with Mario Bava tinged stories of lab mice, coffins, eternal youth and the current state of the economy made for a schizophrenic but well structured performance which while cleverly constructed gives a chaotic impression. Their influences ranged from Balkan folk, jazz, and Celtic music among others. The band members may have found it hard at first to get the audience to truly get into the spirit of things, but it didn’t take too long. The silliness was infectious and the jokes won over the audience who I’m sure walked away a lot happier.
Ashley Russell

WAITING FOR KATE, Budvar Stage, 2 May 2010
Bristol band Waiting for Kate had everyone up and dancing by the Budvar Stage with their ska inspired beats despite the chilly weather. The six piece band kicked off with their lively number TRIP THE LIGHT oozing the energy and tempo needed to get the crowd going. Despite problems with the sound adjustments and being heckled by four years old demanding them to perform more songs, the band played on in true style. Their current single LOOSE GOOSE proved a massive hit with the audience regardless of the repetitive lyrics and chord structure. This didn’t matter though as the ska trumpet, saxophone and strong bass line produced a great beat to dance along to. Gaining a huge crowd, Waiting for Kate dared to perform a cover of Dizzee Rascal’s DANCE WITH ME after allowing the audience to vote on what they would like to hear. This raised more bums off seats and had people singing along and wolf whistling at the lead singer whilst he rapped away. Everyone enjoyed this set from the young to the old. A triumph and fantastic performance from Bristol’s Waiting for Kate.
Katherine Bayly

Formed in 2008 as a 100th anniversary tribute to celebrate the birth of Raymond Scott (an unknown name to many), this sextet released their debut album TWISTED TOONS: THE MUSIC OF RAYMOND SCOTT in November 2009. The sextet kick started with the first of many zany and eccentric songs RECKLESS NIGHT ON BOARD AN OCEAN LINER. Instantly feet were tapping and heads were bobbing. In SUICIDE CLIFF, trumpeter, Tom MacNivan, brought to life the 1940s feel with the sound of the trumpet mimicking the sound you hear on the old records. The sextet’s reworking of THE PENGUIN allowed Stu Brown to show off with a drum solo. He was astounding to watch and made it look so simple. His calm composure and speed made it surreal.
Katherine Bayly

JIM LOCKEY AND THE SOLEMN SUN, Cheltenham Budvar Stage, 2 May 2010
Hot tipped quartet Jim Lockey and The Solumn Sun graced the all new Budvar stage for a set not-so jazz but welcomed none-the-less! The popular band attracted other local acts to enjoy the festival, The Divine Secret and The Echoes braved the rain and were spotted in the audience supporting their peers. Lockey and co played a tight set, mixing some old and much loved songs with new ones, due for release on their forth coming album, Atlases. Crossing country folk with punk their creative tunes belong in the mainstream, freshening up some genres that can tire of the same old sounds. Waitress, out for free download in May, Caskets and Bibles, and battles were just a few played, and Cheltenham fans sang to every one. Battles and Machines were in there as well, echoing their distinctive sound. Joe Summers of the band said: “I’m surprised we got the gig, I don’t know how jazz we are so it’s something different! We hope you enjoy it.”
The chilled vibes of Morning Wake Up suited the atmosphere in the stage, with machines telling the true tale of the music industry and struggling musicians. They rounded up with The Boat Song, a melodic track that really flaunted the Lockey’s brilliant vocal tone. Apart from a few swear words the set was family friendly and received a great audience reception, from those watching admirably and those just enjoying the free music.
Rose Churchill

FRINGE MAGNETIC, Jazz Arena, 2 May 2010
Led by trumpeter Rory Simmons, ten-piece Fringe Magnetic, lit up the dark jazz arena with their vibrant and hugely experimental set. With a silent audience, the band took to the stage and started with a song called EYEBALL expressing lively and vivacious beats sounding somewhat like music from a cartoon. Onto their next song EMPTY SPACES, where they were joined by Norwegian vocalist, Elisabeth Nygaard, the band displayed much darker tones to their music. Using their unique experimental style, this song stood out like a sore thumb from anything else on the jazz scene. It blended sweet yet wailing vocals with sincere and haunting music. This ten-piece produced fantastic sounds by combining what seemed like a range of songs together and making it work as one. Their songs merged classical music with a strong jazz basis which held the audience’s attention in a still silence. Later on in the set, Fringe Magnetic was joined by another vocalist, Andrew Plummer. Things got a little too strange when he performed his song FIRE DOWN BELOW breaking all rules of jazz in terms of the music and singing. His persona was as odd as his vocals which wiped out any conventions as soon as they introduced someone who sounds like he should be in a death metal band. For any other band, this would have been a disaster but for Fringe Magnetic it was expected and praised. The audience showed their appreciation throughout with massive rounds of applause so they must be doing something right. They’re breaking the boundaries for jazz and introducing some interesting and amazing improvisations to the scene. Who could argue with that?
Katherine Bayly

CUONG VU, Town Hall Pillar Room, 2 May 2010
Cuong Vu walks into the room with a modest look on his face and a small welcoming smile for the audience. The shy guy places himself on the stage. No hello or introduction is done, nothing. He picks up his trumpet and plays the first of many songs. His bass player, Luke Bergman, and drummer, Ted Poor follow suit. The music that followed was mesmerising. For such a reserved person as Cuong Vu it was crazy to see him perform songs infused with elements of rock. Using distorting, delay and echo effects on his trumpet as well as the bass guitar, he produced a grunge jazz sound. Taking a quick glance around the room, I see people in all directions rocking their heads backwards and forward to the rock drum beat. Whilst his music is infused heavily with rock, somehow it’s also relaxing. Cuong Vu’s trumpet playing and crashing symbols of the drums lead me to feel like I was in a dream-like state. Ironically, it was tranquillity. Although lacking immensely on audience interaction, leading to an unawareness of what the songs were called and to a deficit in entertainment on that part, the innovative young star still entertained. It was interesting to watch as the trio created half a rock gig, with the bass player and drummer rocking out, whilst Cuong Vu and his trumpet jazzed it out on the other side. Showing his appreciation, Cuong Vu repeated many nods and thank you’s as the crowd clapped, whistled and screamed bringing the enticing set to a close. He ended by finally introducing himself and thanking his audience: “My name is Cuong Vu and thank you so much for coming.”
Katherine Bayly

JB JAZZ AND BLUES BAND, Jazz Arena, 3 May 2010
Nearly a full arena and the JB Jazz and Blues Band walk onto the stage, unphased, with their swing suits, broad smiles and the same style and elegance you can find in their music. Starting the gig off with the jazz standard Louis Jordan’s 1944 classic IS YOU IS OR IS YOU AIN’T MY BABY, instantly feet along my row were tapping to the beat causing my seat to rock with them. The pianist, John Beckingham, filled the arena with his Louis Armstrong inspired voice and fantastic sounds as his fingers glided over the keyboard. The old swinger and saxophonist, Roger, was clicking his fingers and swinging along to the songs keeping the old girls in the audience entertained. Covering classics from the Blues song ROUTE 66, I’M IN THE MOOD FOR LOVE and the comic number FEETS TOO BIG, the JB Jazz and Blues Band showed their true colours. Half way through the set they introduced a special guest, Jo Faulkner, who had a wonderful voice. She sang numbers such as Ella Fitzgerald’s BEI MIR BIST DU SCHOEN and DREAM A LITTLE DREAM OF ME which only added to how superb this band was. Finishing up with the bubbly classic Lewis Prima’s JUMP JIVE N WAIL, John thanked the audience with a simple: “We hope you’ve liked it as much as we have”. Roger, on the other hand, gave them one last laugh by introducing John: “On piano, on vocals, on benefits!” I don’t think I’ll ever tire of seeing this band perform.
Katherine Bayly

KIM CYPHER, Budvar Stage, 3 May 2010
One of Gloucestershire’s best female saxophonists and her band, the Kim Cypher Band, had people off their seats and up dancing as they played their classic funk and jazz beats. Kim Cypher thanked the audience for braving the cold weather and coming to see them, and invited them to come and join them by the Budvar stage for a bit of dancing. However, this audience didn’t need an invitation. After the first note had been played of the funk classic REGGAE WOMAN people were clapping along and dancing to the beat. Playing a range of covers from Grover Washington’s SOULFUL STRUT played with Joss Stone’s DON’T YOU WANNA RIDE lyrics to the Blues classic Aretha Franklin’s DOCTOR FEELGOOD, this band had everything they needed to entertain their audience. The band is made up of five fantastic musicians and a soulful singer with an immensely powerful voice designed for the music she sang. She had the passion and emphasis to make the songs mean something as well as making them great to hum along to. Kim Cypher asked the audience to participate at one point getting them to clap the drum beat out. The audience did this with no complaints and everyone was pumped with energy. The atmosphere under the tent immediately lifted with the band’s funk music filling the air. There were smiles on faces all round as small children gathered by the stage and danced next to the adults. A great gig by none other than Gloucestershire’s Kim Cypher Band.
Katherine Bayly

Undefeated by an unenthusiastic audience The Tommy Charles Tetraphonic played classic jazz songs generated to unwind. By the Budvar Stage the afternoon sun was sadly sprinkled with light rain but the band soldiered on and played a soothing set of some good old fashioned jazz sounds. With the majority of the festival showcasing experimental jazz, it was great to see a band play some traditional music. With a piano, drums and saxophone, this band created great unwinding jazz. Their set list included their own (quite long) songs like ROAD SONG and SAUSAGE AND SALAD as well as covers like Disney’s SOMEDAY MY PRINCE WILL COME, giving the children in the audience something they could recognise. The band also covered the upbeat jazz standard SISTER SADIE with huge confidence gaining a better reaction. Although their audience seemed unengaged with the music, the band looked like they had a good time. Perhaps not the most interesting band to watch on stage but they do know how to create good jazz to chill out to.
Katherine Bayly

TUBELORD, Jazz Arena, 3 May 2010
Enter the four piece rock band Tubelord. Four young lads from Norbiton. Four young lads who make fantastic rock music. With dedicated fans in tow, Tubelord rocked out the jazz arena with a sound similar to other rock bands out there. It took me a while to figure out why everyone was so obsessed with these guys, and then I saw it. None of the other bands have the charisma. The personalities that trickled out of this band made for a very amusing gig. With conversation topics between songs going from a guy who blagged his way in for free to whether Iron Man 2 was any good, it made for great entertainment. It’s not very often that you see an incredible band perform that also have the charm to go with it. Singing songs from their Myspace page, such as their latest single STACEY’S LEFT ARM and old favourites NIGHT OF THE PENCILS and PROPELLER, it wasn’t long until people were singing along with them. Their performance was bursting at the seams with energy and enthusiasm which gave the audience every reason to be doing the same. This group has more to offer than the average rock band, their high speed performance united with vocal harmonies, violent guitar riffs and catchy lyrics mean you’ll be humming the tunes in days to come. This band is not an amateur rock band; they are a rock band. With an ever-growing fan base, Tubelord are definitely ones to go and see if you get the chance.
Katherine Bayly

LLUIS MATHER, Cheltenham Town Hall, 4 May 2010
Chosen by Dave Holland from the top students on Birmingham Conservatoire’s jazz course, The Lluis Mather quartet played a great set in the pillar room on the bank holiday. As winners of the 2009 ensemble prize, they received this headline slot as their reward and really made the most of it. Dissention, their opening piece was a laid back but eerie, and lead by saxophonist Lluis Mather who holds terrific talent in both playing and composing. A tense theme ran throughout the performance, and was created by some thrilling compositions. Catch It, Bin It, Kill It stood out among the arrangement, with its sinister sound and a faster pace the track was just loud enough to be intimidating, and big enough to captivate. Following the first half, withering symbols blew up into huge, epic jazz music walls. The group picked up an excellent response from the audience for their edgy songs, Mather’s quirky style is what got them the award in the first place, and will hopefully bring them back in 2011.
Rose Churchill

MATT CALVERT, Cheltenham Playhouse Theatre, 4 May 2010
A live audience with Matt Calvert was especially chosen by guest director Jamie Cullum’s for the festival. Calvert played a narrative acoustic to a series of short stories, and was joined by the up and coming British piano, reeds and percussion player Ivo Neame, and Ben Bryant on Vibes and percussion. The theme of story-telling jazz was a fresh addition to the festival, with its visual tales including the 1906 Dreams Of A Rarebit Fiend, one of Edison Manufacturing’s most popular film releases. The music itself was in perfect sync with the films, with impressive and realistic tech noises mimicking what could be seen on screen. The Motorist, a fantasy in which a motorcar drives around the rings of Saturn was a highlight of the five stories. It was easy to forget the music was being played live, and when bought away from the screen and back to reality it was exciting to realise the soundtrack was on stage. The story of Isabella and her dance with death set an awkward atmosphere which was brought alive by the music. The Theatre, animated by Hattie Newman was a quirky little film where Calvert and his team partly improvised, which if they hadn’t noted beforehand, it would have went unnoticed which just amplified their gift in playing along to the screen.
Rose Churchill

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