Snow ? Ice ? Freezing temperatures ? Events being cancelled at the fall of a flake ? Jazz @ 5 laughs at such things!
With temperatures plummeting and snow and ice everywhere, the last Jazz @ 5 of the term warmed a suitably appreciative audience on Wednesday night, with a sprinkling of jazz-infused carols and popular Christmas favourites, a dash of funk and a slice of soul.
Making her debut at Kent, and beginning the evening in fine style, Ruby Mutlow gave a robust rendition of Macy Gray’s funk-laden Why Didn’t You Call Me, and Marvin Gaye’s soul classic What’s Goin’ On. Also one of the Big Band singers this year, as well as singing with Chorus and Sing!, Ruby has a vibrant vocal presence on-stage, and will be one to watch this year.
In contrast, the Music Department’s very own Sophie Meikle stepped away from upright bass in the previous gig and stepped up to the microphone to sing White Christmas and Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas, the latter holding the attention of a rapt audience so closely that it felt like no-one breathed for the duration of the song.
Returning to the Gulbenkian Foyer stage was the classy Steph Richardson, with a poised reading of Peggy Lee’s Black Coffee, a coquettish Santa, Baby and a deft Let It Snow! There’s a real sense of accomplishment whenever Steph performs, she is completely at ease on the stage and with the other musicians. With Ruby and Jo as well, it’s an exciting year for jazz singers at Kent!
Also stepping onto the stage for the first time was first-year pianist Kirstie Robbie, who played Winter Wonderland with the ensemble, and also Wagglestick Walkabout as a solo item, the latter with a firm boogie-woogie feel to the left-hand.
Regulars Dan Harding on piano, Andrew Kitchin on guitar, Will Rathbone on sax and Matt Bardrick on drums, were joined by Alastair Disley, a member of the Music and Audio Department of the School of Arts based in Medway, on electric bass, who heroically sat in at a few hours’ notice for his first Jazz @ 5. The group played a spirited performance of Herbie Hancock’s funky Canteloupe Island.
Thanks to all those who performed and especially to those making their debut on the University jazz scene. Jazz @ 5 returns in January: watch this space…