The Ministry of Culture has succeeded once again in bringing top international Jazz talent to the Rock. The concert that we enjoyed last Saturday at St. Michael’s Cave was truly a spectacular big band event featuring The Ronnie Scott’s Jazz Orchestra under bandleader Pete Long with Georgina Jackson as vocalist and trumpet player.
They whipped up a brass fest, storming through a classy set of popular Jazz tunes and some seasonal festive classics too.
The concert kicked off with local quartet Malfunktion working their way through a set of funky tunes, some original and some classic and all of them aimed at whipping up a party mood in expectation of the famous Jazz band which was to follow them.
Nick Gonzalez (Sax) was joined by pianist Juan Galiardo, vocalist Tom Rust, Marcelo Saenz on guitar, Nestor Gomez on drums and Burkhard Menn on bass. Their set was committed to funk and they were not letting up by slowing down to a ballad which would have extracted different dynamics to add to their sound. They finished their set serving up the ‘Earth Wind and Fire’ classic ‘September’ and they went down very well.
The rest of the evening was pure brass heaven, a big band made up of the finest Jazz musicians from the UK supported by Georgina Jackson, a very fine vocalist who is also a star trumpet player, all of them led by clarinet player and bandleader Pete Long, who was larger than life in his funny introductions and repartee.
He also showed his class as a gifted woodwind player and expert arranger to showcase this band of musical talents playing at the top of their game.
They divided their set into two halves and all of it was a well-oiled performance of tried and tested master class jazz, blended with popular classics from Ella Fitzgerald to The Beatles, to Holtz’ Planet Suites ‘Venus’ and ‘Neptune’ and then passing through 70’s super band ‘Weather Report,’ original material, jazzed up festive classics and some from the great American Jazz standards catalogue.
Throughout their performance all the musicians were introduced and given their ‘showcase’ moment in the spotlight.
The audience responded warmly to all of them throughout, as we knew we were in the presence of music royalty.
Some vocal highlights were The Beatles’ Can’t Buy Me Love, Ella Fitzgerald, Georgie Fame’s ‘Yeh Yeh’, and at the end, Louis Armstrong’s ‘What a Wonderful World’ where Georgina Jackson sang and blew spectacular trumpet as well.
Because of the quality of the music and the great interaction of Pete Long and Georgina with the audience we all had a great time foot stomping and hand clapping which led to the band getting a prolonged standing ovation.
Certainly a concert to remember and this great band features at Ronnie Scott’s Club in London on the first Sunday of every month and worth checking out if you can pre-book tickets.
We have a Jazz Festival which is growing in stature because of the quality of the acts we bring to it. This type of festival requires serious funding and not a lot of return can be expected from it except the kudos, for that alone we are truly grateful because we get to see and enjoy the best.
Well done to all who had a hand in bringing this to fruition.
Pics by Johnny Bugeja