A packed function room in Victoria Hotel on Monday afternoon proved that Bute was still in the party mood at the annual New Year Jazz gig.
Kicking things off, after a warm welcome from organiser Tim Saul, island band Les Gitanes took to the stage.
The four-piece group, comprising of Tim, Alec Mack and Keith McIntyre on guitar, and Paul McKay on bass, dove straight into a selection of works including the gypsy jazz hit Mar y Sol. Audience members were alerted to the fact that Paul’s double bass had not in fact shrunk during recent inclement weather, but that he was playing a bass ukulele.
It was certainly a space saver on the tiny stage, in any case!
The group also welcomed vocalist Anna Harrison to the stage for a couple of songs, including the much-loved Ray Charles’ hit, ‘Georgia on my Mind’ and ‘I Wish I Knew How It Would Feel To Be Free’ by Billy Taylor.
A very special round of applause was given to Anna (and husband Ricky who was in the audience) on the birth of their second daughter, Darcey, just a few weeks ago.
After a brief interval the musicians returned to the stage, this time accompanied by David Gray on drums, Robert Henderson on trumpet and Nick Gould on tenor saxophone.
Both Robert and Nick are no strangers to the island’s jazz scene, and their return was very much welcome.
In a wee touching moment, a beautiful rendition of ‘Somewhere Over the Rainbow’ was dedicated to those “listening to us today from a higher plane”.
The tempo was soon ramped up again with Gershwin’s ‘Fascinating Rhythm’ next on the bill. Tim explained before the band started that “it’s one of those pieces that have bandmasters saying ‘We’ll see you at the end, folks’”.
Fast-paced, and full of twists and turns it had the audience tapping their fingers and toes along in time.