Richard Niles, Kate Winter Photo credit: Barbara Bartz
The Ealing Jazz Festival felt very busy last Sunday, its final day. It’s being reported that the festival has broken all previous attendance records, with a crowd approaching 9,000 maybe even 10,000 for Sunday alone, and over definitely well over 15,000 and maybe approaching 20,000 for the five days.
Good weather can make this festival, with its roots deep in the local community, one of the happiest events on the calendar. The music is not mostly “challenging,” although there is a wide age range among the performers. An audience of normal citizens gets together to enjoy good music, good company, food.
It’s as if someone in Ealing Council has been enlightened, and been reading Article 15 of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. Good on them. I support this activity and ethos with all my heart. I found out afterwards that I had also been supporting it with my wallet, thanks to Parking Services Civil Enforcement Officer No. 2031, who had ticketed my car just ten minutes before the expiry of residents’ parking.
The first band I heard was Richard Niles’ Septet performing Niles’ fascinating and crafted arrangements, with singer Kate Winter (above). I know Kate from her work on internet radio. She is also a fine singer, nailing the tricky lines every time, both in the ballads and the faster R&B-ish songs.
I was also pleased to catch pianist Rob Terry‘s trio in the South tent. Terry plays unusual, angular lines . In a number like Walking, the listener was transported straight from marquee in a park in Ealing back a century into the world of Russian futurism and the musical language Prokoviev’s Sarcasms of 1912.
Jack Honeybourne’s group brought to the fore two fine players whose playing is undimmed from theiryearsof success. Drummer Tony Kinsey and trumpeter Ronnie Hughes were unassailable, influential, huge in their day. Great to see them both in good health and playing so well.
I heard great reports of neo-funker LCM (a college in Ealing) student Justin Swadling ‘s band (try this YouTube link),and of a set by Emma Smith
Liz Fletcher, Kate Winter, Gill Cook, Claire Davies Photo Credit: John Langford
The finale (above) on the main stage was a tribute to singer Eilleen Scott who died in January at the age of 80, by four singers: Liz Fletcher, Kate Winter, Gill Cook, Claire Davies, with Dick Esmond`s Sound of 17 Big Band.
Eileen Scott was local, and had a close association with the festival. She had sung with Dick Esmond’s big band for thirty years.
The Ealing Jazz Festival does have its roots in the local community, and puts local players to the fore. Live music can help to build communities. It’s nice to be reminded of that.