Edinburgh Fringe 2015
An hour of Glenn Miller’s best big band numbers from a small band that packs a mighty punch.
Any trio containing Colin Steele, Brian Kellock and John Rae is going to give you some great jazz but I was curious as to how they would create the feel of the big band sound that made so many of Glenn Miller’s compositions the great hits that they were. But sometimes hearing music, especially that which you grew up humming along to, played in a completely different way by a completely different set-up can result in something quite refreshing.
And so it did here. With the Jazz Bar rammed to capacity early into a Saturday afternoon (someone needs to fit some elastic walls before next year’s Fringe – I’ve covered three gigs this year and not come close to getting a seat), we had a set that included all the old favourites, including Little Brown Jug, Tuxedo Junction, Don’t Sit Under the Apple Tree (for Anyone Else But Me), American Patrol, Chattanooga Choo Choo, Pennsylvania 65-0-0-0, Stardust, String of Pearls and, of course, Miller’s signature tune, Moonlight Serenade.
Many of these pieces allowed Steele to showcase his excellent and very versatile trumpet playing but there was always a slot for Messrs Kellock and Rae to improvise around the main melody. Many of Miller’s hits featured vocals, often including those stable-mates of his, Tex Avery and Marion Hutton but the trio got around that for the most part by replacing the lyrics with jamming, which worked nicely, even though a lot of the audience were filling in the gaps by singing along themselves. Nice to see so many young folk tapping their feet in time to the music, as well as an eclectic gathering of tourists just interested in the sound this trio can produce.
A great hour of jazz from a trio that clearly can punch above its weight, creating as it did a big band sound with just three instruments. Well worth listening to.