Edinburgh Fringe 2017
An hour of Glenn Miller’s best big band numbers from a quartet that packs a mighty punch.
Any quartet containing Colin Steele and Brian Kellock 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 at capacity on a sunny Thursday evening (someone needs to fit some elastic walls before next year’s Fringe – every time I cover a gig here I never get 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, Miller’s signature tune Moonlight Serenade and, to conclude, In the Mood.
Many of these pieces allowed Steele to showcase his excellent and very versatile trumpet repertoire and there was always a slot for the incomparable Kellock 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 quartet got around that for the most part by replacing vocals with jamming, which worked nicely. They also got the audience to sing along to a couple of numbers. And it was 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 quartet can produce.
This was a great hour of jazz from quartet that clearly punches above its weight creating as it does a big band sound with just four instruments. Well worth listening to.