The Nevada Street Four
(Cakewalk Cafe, Dalston, June 8th 2011. Review by Sarah Ellen Hughes)
Every Wednesday night, Passing Clouds – a trendy Dalston first floor bar – transforms into The Cakewalk Café, a 1920s-themed live music venue where hip cats can go to jive. This success story owes the fact of its existence to Ewan Bleach, a Trinity College of Music graduate. The Café first opened as a one-off music event. It soon graduated to become a fortnightly, then a weekly affair. Live bands such as TJ Johnson, The Boomtown Swingalings and Trio Manouche perform each week.
The Nevada Street Four (named after the location of Oliver’s Bar in Greenwich) is a traditional jazz outfit featuring the vocal and instrumental talents of Malcolm Earle-Smith (trombone), Richard White (clarinet and baritone sax), Colin Good (piano) and Martin Wheatley (guitar). This may seem to be quite an unusual line-up, particularly for dancing (and there was dancing!) but Martin Wheatley ably and brilliantly provided the rhythm on guitar, while the bass duties were shared by Colin Good’s piano and Richard White’s baritone.
Taking us through a plethora of great old standards including Deed I Do, Wrap Up Your Troubles in Dreams and Undecided, The Nevada Street Four put on a slick show, featuring the most animated clarinettist I’ve ever seen in Richard White – his legs were moving faster than the dancers’ and he was sitting down!
Speaking of dancers, there were quite a few couples doing their thing, probably having migrated from their dance class downstairs. Not that dancing was the only thing to do at The Cakewalk Café. The reasonably-priced bar promised good cocktails and there was enough seating to host a sizeable listening audience.
I have already hinted at the vocal talents of The Nevada Street Four – something I was excited by when looking at the listings – and they didn’t disappoint. The group gathered round a couple of mics and Martin Wheatley’s guitar for numbers such as I Got Rhythm and Lazy River, which were executed with slick arrangements and sympathetic singing from each member. With good vocal harmony work throughout, this was a thoroughly enjoyable evening – well worth another visit.