Concert Review – Fret and Fiddle at Lichfield Jazz and Blues Festival

Now extended to a quintet, the former duo Fret and Fiddle played a wide range of classic and modern jazz, with the occasional foray into other genres of music when they appeared at Lichfield Blues and Jazz Festival.

Led by the charismatic violinist and vocalist Sally Minchin, and guitarist Andy Bole the band received exemplary support from keyboard player Rich Hughes, double bass player Simon Smith and drummer Steve Street. The music ranged from serene ballads to rambunctious displays of musical invention from guitar, keyboards and violins.

The set started with Duke Ellington’s well-known Jazz standard, Caravan, whilst the French Waltz of Indifference was a display of gentle, filigree music making. All Bowley’s Close your Eyes was delivered as a slow burning torch song, the famed Django Reinhardt/Stephane Grapelli Minor Swing was delivered at a faster pace, but Autumn Leaves delivered a sense of melancholia. Nat King Cole’s Nature Boy closed the first half, with its adventurous arrangement adding depth to the delivery.

The second half featured music that went well outside of the Jazz idiom, with Tom Wait’s Chocolate Jesus, the traditional piece Misserlou and The Penguin Café Orchestra’s Music for a Found Harmonium being particular highlights.

 

LICHFIELD ARTS 

 

Kingsbridge Jazz club 6th Feb 2018

 

Review of “Fret & Fiddle”

 

One of the best nights, so far, we have had at the KJC and this performance will take a lot of beating. This was to be a tribute to Stephane Grappelli, the Jazz violinist extraordinaire.

The fiddle is beautifully played by Sally Minchin who exhibits her classical training with a small rendition of Jules Massenet “Meditation from Thais”. This was to represent the roots of Grappeli’s violin playing. Accompanying her in this, on piano, was Rich Hughes. And so begins a musical biography of Grappelli from his early beginnings in the 1920s up to his death in the late 1990s.

The bands’ music is punctuated by Sally’s narration of Grappelli’s life with various renditions of his music throughout.

Other members of the band are Andy Bole on guitar (funny guy), with Simon Smith playing double bass…(beautifully).. On percussion was Grahame Smith with his usual dynamism for all types of jazz music.

The music throughout the evening was magnificently executed and the Grappelli swing versions of Cole Porter and George Gershwin’s compositions went down a storm with the very packed room. At the end of the performance a well deserved ovation was given by all for a magnificent performance and I for one would like to see a return to the club of this band. After returning home from the club I stayed up late with Youtube and took a closer look at the legendary Stephane Grappelli and his music. The evening with Fret and Fiddle was that inspiring!

 

James Scanlon

1. 'Rhapsody in Blue' sent shivers up my spine. Every number was so lyrical and conjoured up so many memories of my early jazz days, that really made my day!    C.K.

 

2. Nothing more wonderful hearing a violin played with such expertise and especially on the occasion of tonight. Especially having had the pleasure of hearing Reinhart and Grappelli play together (live).  D.K.

 

3. Being a life-long Grappelli fan, and having seen Fret & Fiddle before, I was intrigued to sample this Historic Journey into the famous life and I was not disappointed. Fantastic.  R.W.

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