Monday, August 07, 2017

Mike Sanchez stars at Summertime Swing

Every year swing band The Jive Aces takes advantage of their stately home at Saint Hill Manor in East Grinstead, home of Scientologists in the UK, to host their Summertime Swing, a laid back event featuring the band's excellent swing and jive material and a selection of invited guests whom they back on stage. This year the weather was kind and it made for a pleasant afternoon in the sun, enlivened in particular by the appearance of boogie woogie piano man Mike Sanchez, who topped the list of guest artists. The former leader of the Big Town Playboys was excellent on his five numbers and the Jive Aces' backing was, as ever, note perfect. Kicking off with Down The Road Apiece, he followed up with Little Willie Littlefield's Happy Pay Day, Fats Domino's Ain't That A Shame and I'm Ready and Amos Milburn's Chicken Shack Boogie.
This was high quality playing and singing from a master of his craft, but the rest of the show was good too, despite a sound failure as the Jive Aces were half way through Just A Gigolo with the first guest act Amy Baker. The sound problem having been resolved, Ian Clarkson, leader of the Jive Aces as well as their vocalist, trumpet player and ukelele expert, introduced Rebel Dean to the stage. He was apparently in a touring version of That'll Be The Day and was no great shakes, wrongly attributing the originators of three of his four numbers - I Hear You Knocking, You Win Again and Hallelujah I Love Her So. Fortunately the seven piece Jive Aces helped him through, as they did with the next act Peter Donegan, son of Lonnie. Peter's voice is not unlike his dad's as he showed on It Takes A Worried Man, Jack Of Diamonds and Corrine Corrina.
All the while the dance stage at the rear of this beautiful natural amphitheatre was packed, while others inspected the classic cars on show. After a break the Jive Aces restarted with Ain't Nobody Here But Us Chickens, before introducing Cassidy Janson (pictured below) to the stage. She has just finished a theatre run as Carole King in the musical Beautiful and has a powerful voice, as she showed on Mama He Treats Your Daughter Mean, That Old Black Magic (a duet with Ian Clarkson), A Natural Woman and I Want You To Be My Baby. Much of the Jive Aces material is borrowed from Louis Prima and Big Joe Turner and is ideal for a relaxed afternoon in the sun. Despite their allegiance to the Scientologists, and the presence here and there of obvious cult members (the ones in suits), there is no pressure to join, although I picked up a Jive Aces booklet entitled 'The Way To Happiness', which advises readers to take care of themselves, be temperate, avoid promiscuity, love and help children and honour their parents, among other platitudes. Scientology aside, this is a great venue for a music festival and was  a very enjoyable afternoon.
Here is band leader, and a very good MC, Ian Clarkson.
This is Ian with Amy Baker.
Here is Rebel Dean.
A view of the band stand.


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