CONCERT REVIEW: Old Hat Jazz Band, The Market House, Long Sutton
None other than music legend Louis Armstrong is quoted as having once said: "If you have to ask what jazz is, you'll never know".
Old Hat Jazz Band made it clear that they know full well "what jazz is" when they brought a mix of old rag time and more modern interpretations of what another master of the genre, American trumpeter Wynton Marsalis, described as "a very structured thing that comes down from a tradition and requires a lot of thought and study".
The band's quarter, guitarist John Kelly, double bassist Louis Thomas, trumpeter Mike Soper and clarinettist/saxophonist Will Scott positively oozed easy listening as they played two sets that were both ideal for a Friday night audience.
After opening with W.C. Handy's "St Louis Blues", works by other jazz greats followed in quick succession.
Cole Porter's "It Was Just One of Those Things", "Body and Soul" (one of the most commonly played jazz ballads of all time) by Johnny Green, Hoagy Carmichael's "Skylark" and William H. Tyers' jazz standard piece, "Panama".
There was even room for the sounds of Martinique, courtesy of "Seul le Tropique" (Only the Tropics) by Eugene La Touche.
Old Hat Jazz Band introduced their own material as well, most notably with John Kelly's "My Ideal".
But works by the jazz greats were just around the corner, "Mood Indigo" and "Prelude to a Kiss" (Duke Ellington), "Louisiana Fairytale" (Fats Waller), "China Boy" and "Eqyptian Fantasy" (Sidney Bechet).
The night was rounded off with an encore number, "When I Grow Too Old to Dream", a song recorded by the likes of Nat King Cole, The Everly Brothers and Bing Crosby.
Put simply, Old Hat Jazz Band specialises in music you can listen to while watching the world go by.
Or as Canadian jazz great Oscar Peterson once said: "We’re not like pop musicians who have to perform the same top ten tunes every night of a tour."
Review by Winston Brown