No Isle of Bute New Year celebrations would be complete without the strains of high quality jazz drifting over Rothesay Bay from the Victoria Hotel and this year’s 2018 concert had it all and more.
A large, knowledgeable and enthusiastic audience was proof, if proof was needed, that 100 years after Nick LaRocca and his original Dixieland Jazz Band recorded the first jazz record,Livery Stable Blues, this musical genre still enjoys a great following.
Bute’s own Les Gitanes, with Tim Saul (lead guitar), Alec Mack (lead guitar), Keith McIntyre (rhythm guitar) and Paul MacKay (bass) featured in the first set, opening the concert with ‘Viper’s Dream’ by the great Django Reinhardt.
Other numbers included favourites like ‘Mar Y Sol’ by Django’s great nephew Lulo Reinhardt.
Fronting the second set was the Tim Saul Sextet. The opening number was ‘I wish I knew how it would Feel to be Free’, based on a slave plantation song, was followed by others including a Nick Gould favourite, ‘You Stepped out of a Dream’, and jazz standards like ‘Mood Indigo’ and ‘How High the Moon’.
In true jazz style, soloists Robert, Nick and Tim bounced off one another – no more so than in trumpeter Clifford Brown’s Joy Spring where Robert, in particular, was at his brilliant best.
For the final set, Alec Mack switched to banjo for a couple of numbers, Keith McIntyre returned on rhythm guitar and Bute Community Band chairman John Blick stepped out of his comfort zone into the jazz scene.