Edinburgh Fringe 2019
A slick, tightly choreographed hour of sizzling speakeasy from a melodious young septet.
It’s the US of the 1920’s, the economy is booming, the music is flowing, women have won the right to vote and some bright spark has decided that banning the sale of alcohol would be a good idea. Cue the birth of the Speakeasy as New Orleans jazz goes underground and giggle juice starts doing the rounds.
And we get an hour of sumptuous sounds and mellifluous melodies at our very own 21st century “speakeasy” down in the cavernous Jazz Bar on Chambers Street. We got a set list that included old favourites like “Hard-Hearted Hannah (The Vamp of Savannah)”, “Happy Feet”, “Mean to Me” (with a brief burst of “Ain’t Misbehavin” thrown in as a bonus), “Somebody Loves Me”, “Everybody Loves My Baby”, “My Blue Heaven” and “Georgia on my Mind” to name but a few.
This is a band that let’s their music do the talking with the very cleverly crafted segues acting as a brief, seamless link from one number to the next. A seven piece, it sees the very talented Dani Sicari deliver some blow-your-boots-off vocals with a voice that was as crystal clear as it was expressive and articulate. Looking very much like she’s in charge of her all instrumental male sextet, she’s as confident as a narrator/raconteur as she is when singing.
But that’s not to do the lads down as their ensemble of piano, percussion, bass, guitar, sax/clarinet and trumpet produce a symphony of sounds with the jamming in each of the numbers effortlessly passed around them with the merest twitch of an eyebrow or flick of a finger.
It really is foot-tapping music in a show that never really stops to draw breath – and is all the better for it. Musicianship is top-notch and Sicari’s voice is to die for. It’s great to see this young band, all drawn from The Royal Norther College of Music in Manchester, so obviously enjoying themselves, drawing the audience into the show and even getting us to sing along on occasions. Definitely one to recommend for all music lovers and particularly anyone with a fondness for Tin Pan Alley and its big back catalogue.