Tag Archives: Bratislava Hot Serenaders

Edinburgh Jazz Festival 2016: Bratislava Hot Serenaders

Bratislava Hot Serenaders, Spiegeltent George Square ****
 
Following their success at last year’s Edinburgh Jazz Festival, the Bratislava Hot Serenaders returned on Tuesday evening, to a packed Spiegeltent. This 19-piece ensemble is ideally suited to the beautiful vintage venue – both musically, with the Serenaders’ repertoire of 1920s and 1930s numbers, and visually, with their period style of dress, authentic period instruments and their famous period microphone which is tilted in the direction of whoever is soloing by their obliging, Jeeves-like, crooner.
 
Tuesday’s concert had a déjà vu feeling about it, as many of the tunes had been played at last year’s show, and the same observations kept springing to mind as the Serenaders powered through a programme of 22 numbers in 90 minutes. Once more it was clear that this band has excellent hot jazz credentials, which revealed themselves immediately – on their exhilarating recreation of Duke Ellington’s Cotton Club Stomp. 
 
Indeed, as was the case the last time the Bratislava Hot Serenaders came to town, the 1920s Ellington elements of the evening were the absolute stand-outs for jazz fans – after all, chances to hear such gems as Old Man Blues and Washington Wobble played so authentically and thrillingly are few. Wonderful takes on I Got Rhythm and Dinah were also highlights from the swinging section of the programme.
 
The bulk of the concert, however, was given over to the dance music of the day – novelty tunes, such as The Broken Record, and numbers involving the stylish vocal trio the Serenader Sisters, went down extremely well with the audience. All that was missing was a dance floor…
* First published on HeraldScotland, Wednesday July 20th

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Edinburgh Jazz & Blues Festival 2015: Bratislava Hot Serenaders

Bratislava Hot Serenaders, Spiegeltent, St Andrew Square ****

The Spiegeltent in St Andrew Square proved to be a portal for time travel on Saturday evening – and the chosen destination was, appropriately enough, the 1920s. The first stop, and the one which immediately established that the Bratislava Hot Serenaders have serious credentials as purveyors of hot, swinging and authentic classic jazz – in addition to their eye for authentic period attire and conventions, and a sense of humour and style – was Duke Ellington’s Cotton Club Stomp, a thrilling opener and one you don’t often get the chance to hear, especially being played by a top-notch 19-strong band that counts three violins and a tuba amongst its instrumentation.

Indeed, Ellington’s Cotton Club repertoire – the sensational music he wrote and performed with his band during its tenure at the most famous Harlem night club of them all – provided several highlights of Saturday’s concert, notably the joyous Washington Wobble and the band’s encore, the exhilarating Old Man Blues.

The musical jaunt through the 1920s/1930s didn’t confine itself to New York, however. This band, which has been going strong since 1992, hails from Slovakia and it included some delightful period songs from its own country’s dance band repertoire, in particular I Feel So Sad Without You, a beautiful tango which featured vocals by one of the resident boy crooners, plus the Serenaders Sisters, a trio of singing flappers whose synchronised swooning and close-faced, close-harmony style brought the Belleville Triplets to mind.

London – and Henry Hall’s BBC Dance Orchestra – was the other stop on the 1920s time travelling tour; the beautifully and wittily delivered The Broken Record proving to be another stand-out by this deservedly popular band.

* First published in The Herald, Monday July 20th

I

* Cotton Club Stomp

* Crazy Bout My Baby

* Blue Moon

* Nobody Loves No Baby Like My Baby Loves Me

* Mood Indigo

* Birmingham Bertha

* Tea for Two

* Washington Wobble

* I Feel So Sad Without You

* The Broken Record

* Hot Lips

* Body and Soul

* Loose Angles

* ?

* I Love You (Slovakian song)

* It Looks Like Rain

* Choo-Choo

* Old Man Blues

 

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