Fun swing into the new year

Durban’s Platform Jazz with guest vocalist Bryan Hiles.

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Stage: Platform Jazz presents Our Favourite Swings – Rhumbelow Theatre, Cunningham Road, Umbilo, Durban
REVIEW BY BILLY SUTER
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IT’S been two long years since Durban’s ebullient Platform Jazz swing and Dixieland band last graced the stage at the Rhumbelow Theatre in Umbilo, so it was great to see the team back there and attracting an ample first-night audience last night (January 11) for what marked the opening show of 2019 at this popular venue.

Led by host and trumpeter Cathy “Hot Lips” Peacock, the seven-member band always keeps the customers satisfied and Our Favourite Swings proves no exception, offering a colourful mix of toe-tapping evergreen favourites.

This time around there is no Shelley McLean as guest vocalist – and, I have to admit, I did miss her – and the reason for this is that Peacock was keen to showcase a male vocalist for the new show.

In this regard, perennial charmer Bryan Hiles, fresh from hamming it up as the carrot-haired Ugly Sister in KickstArt’s Cinderella panto, slots in very well, in spite of a slight wobbly start on opening night, when he showed awkward hesitancy with lyrics during When the Saints Go Marching In.

Also featuring Kirsten Sayers on clarinet, a standout Jeff Robinson on sax and flute, Andreas Kappen on double-bass, Bruce Baker on drums, the excellent Melvin Peters on piano, and Midlands trombonist David Solomon (standing in for Platform Jazz regular Duncan Wooldridge, who is holidaying abroad), the group offers much variety and enjoyment.

Platform Jazz in concert at Durban’s Rhumbelow Theatre in Umbilo.

Opening with the band performing the classic In the Mood, the show then has Hiles appearing to perform Basin Street Blues, When the Saints Come Marching In, C’est si Bon and What a Wonderful World, before an early highlight that has Peters performing his own catchy swing composition, Bag of Marbles.

Before interval we also get Hiles doing a good job of Blue Moon, Beyond the Sea and a collection of Frank Sinatra hits, while the band delights with Singing in the Rain and Miles Davis and John Coltrane’s ’50s number, Four.

The second half includes salutes to Robbie Williams and Michael Buble, as well as Latin surprises that include the slinky Caravan and the recent Camila Cabello hit, Havana. We also get a cool rendition of My Favourite Things from The Sound of Music.

Listen out, too, for Mr Bojangles, Mac the Knife, Feeling Good, Sway, Have You Met Miss Jones?, Night and Day, Everything, Something Stupid, Haven’t Met You Yet and a rousing Quando, Quando, Quando finale that has Hiles leading a conga line with audience members.

Our Favourite Swings, which has a swing hanging on stage (get it?) , is lit by Sarah Claxton and features good sound by Andre Norden.

The show has final performances at 8pm on Friday (January 18), 2pm and 8pm on Saturday  (January 19) and 2pm on Sunday (January 20). Tickets cost R150 each (R130 for pensioners and students with valid student cards) and booking is via Computicket or by calling Roland at 082 499 8636.


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