Belfast Telegraph

Jazz greats hit the right notes

PEOPLE are fond of telling me I'm overly enthusiastic but it's no exaggeration to say that the City of Derry Jazz Festival was a quality music event.

PEOPLE are fond of telling me I'm overly enthusiastic but it's no exaggeration to say that the City of Derry Jazz Festival was a quality music event.

Even if jazz is not your bag it was hard not to be impressed by the way the city itself rose to the occasion - people were up for it.

Watching Humphrey Lyttelton and his band on Saturday night I was struck not only by their effortless perfection but by their humour, not to mention the fact that their combined ages totalled 400 years plus.

The band leader had the audience eating out of his hand, as did bad, bad man George Melly (My mum told me a couple of riotous stories about him - she wasn't involved).

Maybe Kenny Ball's trumpet wasn't quite up to scratch but hey, give the guy a break, he told the stunned audience that he'd recently had a colostomy bag fitted after beating colon cancer aged 72.

Those cats kicked it and anybody too tight to fork out for it missed a great night.

How the Jive Aces played their big white socks off five times over the festival without needing hospitalisation is beyond me, they make you tired just watching them.

Hareing through the best of jump jive and jazz standards, the frenetic Londoners in dodgy suits had people dancing on tables all over Derry.

Desmond Dekker - yes we all know it's not jazz - was another major coup for Derry as was a rare visit to the North West by the legendary Don Baker.

Two hundred performers, 25 venues, five days and the vast majority of it FREE.

Derry sure knows how to throw a party.



Sarah Brett

Belfast Telegraph

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