On May 18th the Pavilionaires provided a lively and entertaining evening of jazz for the Shipston Music Society. The instrumentalists in this group obviously enjoy playing together and their musicianship and enthusiasm shone through in each item on the programme. As in all traditional jazz there were sections highlighting a solo instrument and these were all performed with skill and assurance.

The guest vocalist was Gayle Burch whose clear diction and vocal style were ideally suited to such titles as “The Lady is a Tramp” and “I can’t give you anything but love”. After the interval “The nearness of you” with reduced backing and in a gentler style made a good contrast and allowed Gayle to demonstrate her excellent vocal control.

The guitarist and bass player also had vocal spots but this brings me to the one aspect of the evening which, I feel, needs attention – that of balance. The group is lucky to have a very talented flautist, an excellent exponent of jazz, whose clear tone adds enormously to the overall sound. However, for these two items it overpowered the efforts of the vocalists. Such a pity. Also, the Methodist Church is a small, intimate setting where amplification is rarely necessary and clearly some members of the audience felt that on this occasion it was excessive.

Nevertheless it was a very enjoyable evening ending with “When you’re smiling” with audience participation which sent everyone home “with a smile”.

December saw a visit from local musicians, The Pavilionaires.   

They were founded in 2013 and have grown to around 8 musicians, increasing occasionally with visiting ones.  The group comprises keyboard , guitar, bass, alto and tenor sax, trumpet and, on this occasion, a guest vocalist - and as founder Geoff Holtom explained, some members of the group had only taken up a musical instrument after retirement.  So all credit to them for taking this forward, performing for the public and giving such enjoyment.

Gentle jazz was the tone of the evening and the group played a number of well known songs – Misty, The A train, Stranger on the Shore, White Christmas to name a few – as well as less known ones.  Vocalist Gayle Burch’s voice lended itself well to these songs, and her, at times, ‘smoky’ interpretation was just right.   Their ability to conjure up an atmosphere was very good, and perhaps particularly noticeable in their rendition of St James’ Infirmary which transported the audience straight to New Orleans!

There was a really good and appreciative audience for this concert, and we will look forward to seeing them grow in the years to come, and to welcoming them back to play for us again in the future.

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