Edinburgh Jazz and Blues Festival review: Bandakadabra at The Tron, Edinburgh, reviewed by David Pollock
Early in the show one of Turin-based jazz orchestra Bandakadabra’s opening tracks was met with a hail of applause, and a smart-looking guy in a sharp black suit and tie (they were all smart-looking guys in sharp black suits and ties, but only one did the talking) stepped forward. “We know, we know,” he mugged, casting his gaze around the room, and then they were off into another horn-blasting, drum-banging marching song of the kind which wouldn’t be out of place of the streets of New Orleans.
For this group, the theatrical sits in balance with the musical. In the latter sense, they were outstanding, a ten-piece group consisting of eight brass players, a drummer and that master of ceremonies-come-percussionist GiPo Di Napoli, playing music which is unquestionably unsubtle but technically pleasing and mellifluously easy on the ear. In this vaulting old church, the sound was contained, although their repertoire would also work parading down the Royal Mile.
Yet it’s also a more performative hour than their musical billing might suggest, with Di Napoli a likeable actor and clown who kicked off some unforced audience participation, for example inviting women in the front row to exchange places with him and delegating to one of his bandmates for some choreographed communal dance moves.
For a large teatime audience of tourists, families and Jazz Festival purists, it was a show in possession of admirably across-the-board appeal.
Originally published in The Scotsman