A PACKED Chipping Sodbury Town Hall was treated to “one of the most beautiful concerts in the Town Hall for 20 years” said Harry Rae after “Shakespeare and all That Jazz” with Jacqui Dankworth and Friends on Friday, 30 September. Another member of the audience wrote afterwards “The whole concert was fantastic. Jacqui has such a wonderful voice and, of course, her band are wonderful musicians; with such a programme of memorable and less well known Shakespeare it was a perfect evening. We are so fortunate that the Chipping Sodbury Music Society team were prepared to work so hard to bring them to Chipping Sodbury.”

Jacqui, who is also a seasoned actress having studied at the Guildhall School Of Music And Drama, paid homage to her parents in a reincarnation of the material composed by her father Sir John Dankworth for her mother Dame Cleo Laine. The arrangements included settings such as “All the World’s a Stage”, “Shall I Compare Thee to a Summer’s Day”, “O Mistress Mine”, the story of “Macbeth”, a comical setting of Shakespeare’s complete works and much more!

The audience was introduced to all Jacqui’s friends on stage. Julian Siegel, best known as a saxophonist, is a classically trained multi-instrumentalist who plays most reed instruments; his special treat for the audience was his brilliance on the bass clarinet. He was joined by a surprise guest, Ben Castle, on clarinet and saxophone. After the interval Jacqui rewarded the curiosity of the audience with the information that Ben is the son of famous British TV personality and jazz trumpeter Roy Castle. His subsequent little tap dance under his music stand was priceless. Oli Hayhurst has been one of the busiest bass players on the London jazz scene since graduating from the Royal Academy of Music in 2000. He is a really positive, pro-active bassist who played a crucial part in leading the melody and setting the mood. Jacqui’s husband, Memphis-born blues keyboardist Charlie Wood, accompanied the sets on keyboard, demonstrating his dextrous, jazz and blues influenced piano playing. He also sang two numbers in his gentle and persuasive voice and contributed to the arrangements.

Huge thanks are due to the Town Hall team, the bar staff from Wards, the sound crew from King Sound, Adam Greenslade whose lighting schemes complemented the moods of the evening, Paul Whittle who took the official photographs and everyone else who generously helped with publicity and ticket sales.

What more can we say about Jacqui Dankworth, except that she is the perfect exponent of the classic Shakespearian ballads. She has a beautiful voice and a deep understanding of her material. The visitors from Aylesbury, who had been following her tour around the country, and all the other members of the audience from near and far, were fortunate to be present for such an enthralling performance.

The opening concert of the Music Society’s 69th season, at Chipping Sodbury Town Hall on Tuesday 11 October 2016, will be given by Bella Tromba – a trumpet quartet. Bella Tromba holds a unique position in the UK’s chamber music scene, offering a pioneering performance style and a commitment to programming outstanding brass repertoire; they are a vibrant all girl ensemble active in many areas of performance from recitals, master classes, and educational projects, to commercial recording, television, film, and radio appearances. Tickets can be purchased from http://www.ticketsource.co.uk/csmusicsociety/ or the Box Office on 10454 315741 and further information may be found on the website at http://www.csmusicsociety.co.uk

Michelle Cook – 3 October 2016