Live at Boston Spa Jazz Club on Saturday, 16th February 2008
I am from the small village of Boston Spa on the outskirts of north Leeds but until tonight I have never checked out the local jazz club, which bears world acclaim and attracts the big names on the Yorkshire jazz circuit, as well as visiting artist from the USA. What was the draw? A chance to see an old friend play with her band The Dizzy Club. So you may think this will be a biased review, but I'm sure if you asked anyone in this packed out venue they would agree with my views.
The band are a quartet lead by John Naylor, who has a remarkable resemblance to Bryan Ferry, or at least I think so, can play a mean jazz guitar and has a wispy yet wonderful voice. The band open with 'Love for Sale', a Cole Porter tune made famous by Manhattan Transfer, and from the off the crowd know they are in for a toe-tapping, foot-stomping time. The set-up seems reminiscent of the old days of 'Le Hot Club' and Django Reinhardt, with the appearance of the violin in the capable hands of Patrick Walker, who is constantly swapping for the duration of the performance between his guitar and the violin. Bassist Mike Fleming constantly impresses as he dances around the bass line, almost leading us to think that any moment he will spin his double bass around. Caroline Boaden is a sublime drummer as she makes it look so easy, ever the minimalist making big sounds out of minimal instruments, though as she declares when the house light are left on that "it's like a bus station in here".
The set highlights include a version of the Natalie Cole track 'This Will Be (An Everlasting Love)', a swinging version of Prince (or whatever he calls himself these days) song 'Strollin', which sounds as if it had been written by on of the jazz greats, and the finals of 'Sweet Thing' by Van Morrison, which comes across more folk jazz and is very atmospheric. As the set progresses it becomes clear that the band are lost in the music, throwing the set list out the window and relying on John Naylor to start playing a chord sequence. They lean into another piece and the madness of Patrick Walker swapping instruments alongside singing 4 part harmonies makes this band truly inspiring.