Edinburgh Festival Fringe music review: In The Mood: The Music of Glen Miller, reviewed by The Scotsman’s Jim Gilchrist.
Judging by the length of the queue outside the Jazz Bar, more than 70 years after the band leader’s wartime disappearance, the music of Glenn Miller remains as popular as ever.
Not that this was an attempt at faithful recreation of the Miller band’s ultra-smooth, reed-driven sound. With no reeds and no double bass, this was the power trio of pianist Brian Kellock – fondly welcomed back by the Jazz Bar audience after his recent illness, trumpeter Colin Steele and drummer John Rae, playing this familiar music in what Kellock dryly observed was “a special, special way”.
Different, yes, but in the best possible way. Opening with the jaunty Little Brown Jug, they worked their way with irresistible energy, extrovert musicality and not a little Kellockian anarchy, through the Miller tune book, Steele switching between terse mute rasping and big belling tone in numbers such as Tuxedo Junction and Rae driving the proceedings along with gusto, building up a particularly dramatic climax with the piano during the limber stride of American Patrol.
Kellock, when not ranging about the keyboard with irreverent glee, at one point played a lovely, almost classically informed solo prelude which gradually became the Miller signature tune of Moonlight Serenade, gliding over Rae’s hissing brushes and joined by Steele’s melancholy mute horn. The trumpeter, meanwhile, revealed hitherto unkenned vocal talents, leading a joyous singalong in the rollicking 12-bar of Chattanooga Choo Choo and a similarly uproarious Pennsylvania 6-5000.
That he probably has more future sticking to trumpet was confirmed by the panache with which he took Clyde Hurley’s famous solo from the original In the Mood as well as the tune’s soaring coda.
Nostalgic, undoubtedly (they even closed with an air raid siren); mawkish, far from it: it was, as they say out west, “a rerr terr”.
The Jazz Bar (Venue 57) until 29 August / listings
Published in The Scotsman on 26 August 2015
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