All that jazz

Ian Mackenzie from Enfield Choral Society on what people can expect at the group’s summer concert

Enfield Choral Society performing last year
Enfield Choral Society performing last year

Do you like jazz? Would you enjoy an evening of ‘easy listening’ jazz?

If so, make sure you come down to the Summer Jazz Concert performed by Enfield Choral Society and the Ben Saul Jazz Ensemble at Christ Church in Enfield on Saturday, 22nd June.

We will be performing some usual jazz favourites and also focusing on three large pieces: Songs and Sonnets by George Shearing, Birthday Madrigals by John Rutter and Little Jazz Mass by Bob Chilcott.

The jazz pianist and composer George Shearing was blind from birth. In 1947 he moved to New York, where he developed his own style, influenced by swing, bop and classical music, and wrote famous tunes including Lullaby of Birdland, which we will be singing. He also recorded collaborations with several singers, including Dakota Staton, Peggy Lee, Nancy Wilson, Mel Tormé and, most famously, Nat ‘King’ Cole.

In 1986 Shearing set a series of pieces for choir, jazz piano and double bass with lyrics by William Shakespeare that he called Music to Hear which was widely well-received and frequently performed. As a result, he was commissioned to compose seven more songs based on Shakespeare’s words. Songs and Sonnets was the result and its world premiere was conducted by John Rutter with Shearing at the piano.

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Shearing and Rutter became good friends, and Rutter composed Birthday Madrigals to celebrate Shearing’s 75th birthday in 1995. This collection was written at the invitation of Brian Kay, conductor of the Cheltenham Bach Choir, with the composer conducting the premiere and Shearing in the audience. The text of the madrigals comes from the era of the Elizabethan madrigal and the musical style displays a mixture of light jazz and the English part-song tradition.

While he was a member of the King’s Singers, Bob Chilcott performed with Shearing and other major jazz figures such as John Dankworth, Richard Rodney Bennett and Art Farmer. This strongly influenced his composing style. The Little Jazz Mass is a highly effective jazz setting of the Latin Missa brevis. The Kyrie has a relaxed, easy tempo, the Gloria swings and the Agnus Dei is clearly inspired by the blues.

We do hope you’ll join us for an excellent evening of jazz.

Enfield Choral Society’s Summer Jazz Concert takes place from 7.30pm on Saturday, 22nd June, at Christ Church in Chase Side, Enfield. Tickets are £15 for adults (£14 in advance) or £7 for under-25s in full-time education. Book via any choir member or contact us:
07864 061 755

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