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London Music Guide

London Music Guide

"Out Here to Swing!"
Prom 21 Sat 31st July 2004, 10pm

Marathon drum breaks, dazzling solos and queues all the way from the Royal Albert Hall down to Queen's Gate. It had to be Wynton Marsalis and the Lincoln Jazz Center Orchestra. One of the most eagerly awaited Proms of the season, Saturday's late night affair was buzzing before the band even hit the stage.

Wynton and the LJCO played to a packed Royal Albert Hall with a two-hour set including old favourites and a handful of more recent collaborations. First up was "Evolution of the groove", penned by Marsalis and LCJO drummer Herlin Riley - a five-movement arrangement with the reed section juggling soprano saxes, altos and clarinets. Riley's influence was easily detectable with Marsalis warning the audience "You'll know it's the fifth movement when the tambourine comes out!" Sure enough high hats and kicks gave way to one man and his tambourine, bringing the percussive evolution to a rapturous close.

George Shearing's "Lullaby of Birdland" brought the tempo down a little with the honeyed tones of jazz vocalist Jennifer Sanon onboard. Other highlights included Ted Nash's (LCJO, saxophone) collaboration with the LCJO entitled "La espada de la noche", and a modern touch with "Rambling". La espada began in a reflective mood only to burst into a rush of flamenco and jazz, whilst Rambling took on a contemporary angle with Eric Lewis plucking, scratching and drumming the inside of his piano.

The evening ended on a smooth note with "Symphonette" - the third movement of Duke Ellington's opus "Black, Brown and Beige". As temperatures rose, it became clear that air-conditioning had eluded the venue's recent revamp, but who cares if you sweat while you're swinging to Marsalis.

Helenka Bednar

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