Jazz Festival Sunday is a chance to nurse sore heads and sore feet, and Marlborough's Priory Gardens was the perfect place to do both, with half of the audience opting to sit under the shade of the trees in the walled garden, rather than inside the giant festival marquee itself.
First up was contemporary jazz pianist Zoe Rahman. Zoe is from the school of 'learn the rules of music with some classical training (in her case at the Royal Academy of Music) before you break them (at the Berklee College of Music, where she studied jazz performance).
Rahman plays the kind of technically-proficient jazz that can be heard in concert halls, like the Wiltshire Music Centre, where she's performed with Courtney Pine. Pine appears on her 2013 MOBO Award-winning album Kindred Spirits, but taking up jazz flute duties today is the very talented Rowland Sutherland.
She's also joined on stage by double bass player Alec Dankworth (of the famous jazz dynasty), and their soothing sounds are just the job on a sunny Sunday afternoon.
Wrapping up the festival is Cubana Bop. Band leader Terry Seabrook has arranged what are billed as Bernstein-Sondheim originals with a distinctly Latin twist.
Asking audience members not to film or record the set, Seabrook explains there have been licensing problems.
Can we even tell you which famous Bernstein-Sondheim musical the songs in Cubana Bop's set are from? Maybe not, but we can say that the originals have a Latin twist to begin with, and that the highlights include renditions of Tonight, Maria, America, I Feel Pretty, and A Boy Like That.
Anyway the songs in Jazz on the Latin Side are belted out with gusto by Jo Marshall (formerly of the Swingle Sisters) and Paul Roberts, who has terrific stage presence, a voice like Frank Sinatra and used to front post-punk band The Stranglers.
We spent an enjoyable two hours in the presence of Cubana Bop, and hopefully those licensing issues will be sorted out soon, and they'll be able to proudly announce that the songs are taken from the 1957 Broadway musical (and 10-times Academy Award-winning movie of the same name) W...
You get the feeling that Aussies abroad Flap! are not taking this whole music career thing seriously.
Their gypsy-folk-jazz-ska-disco repertoire includes jaunty versions of songs by Brit miserablists The Specials and The Jam, and they've even covered the 8-bit bleepy tune that accompanies the 1989 Nintendo game Tetris... and added lyrics.
Oh, and they do a uplifting number called The Apocalypse.
Behind the cheerful Aussie demeanour, though, there's some serious musical talent. Trumpeter and vocalist Eamon McNelis won the 2012 National Jazz Award, while Shannon Barnett (trombone) was named Young Australian Jazz Artist of the Year in 2007. And in Jess Guille, the band have a beguiling vocalist, ukulele player and spokeswoman.
They certainly had toes tapping – and eventually people on their feet dancing – at packed Brewin Dolphin Bandstand, where they played a mid-afternoon slot at Saturday's Marlborough Jazz Festival.
They're a long way from home, but if they do come back to Marlborough in the future, I reckon they'll command a bigger stage.
Last year, The Jive Aces made it through to the semi finals of Britain's Got Talent, a televised competition ultimately won by a performing dog.
So perhaps the perennial Marlborough Jazz Festival favourites – a band who've filled The Albert Hall and performed for the Queen in her jubilee year – felt they had to up their game for Saturday's appearance in The Priory Marquee.
Their not-so-secret weapon was The Satin Dollz, Hollywood's premiere pin-up dancers. And the two acts delivered a two hour performance that delivered a treat for the eyes, as well as the ears.
And by the end of their set – which featured King of the Swingers from Disney's The Jungle Book, and a cover of Bring Me Sunshine so uplifting that doctors have prescribed the video as a cure for depression – the front of stage was packed with couples and children dancing.
He was just a busker, a boy with a guitar singing his own song as the crowds lined up to see the stars of Marlborough’s international jazz festival.
Few people paid attention…except for Clare Teal, the queen of Britain’s jazz singers on her regular gigs at the festival.
She recognised the talent of Ben Cipolla, a student at St John’s, Marlborough, who lives in Great Bedwyn.
And last year she promised him a spot on stage to entertain the packed audience at the Priory Park marquee – a promise she kept yesterday (Saturday) to Ben’s amazement.
As it came to encore time before the close of her concert, 40-year-old Clare told her admiring fans: “I have been playing this gig for a long time from the very start of my career. So it feels like coming home.
“I started out singing in a tea shop here, then I did the town hall and ever since I have been coming here. And on the corner there has always been an extraordinary brilliant busker.
“And I’ve noticed him every year since I have been coming to Marlborough. I’ve got to know him. He’s just done his A levels for the first year or whatever they call that now. And he’s making music. He is writing terrific songs.
So I want you guys to look out for him because I think he is pretty hot. His name is Ben Cipolla. If he was from Yorkshire he would be called Ben Onions. So I want you to give a huge welcome to Mr Ben Cipolla…”
Up the steps and on to the stage stepped tall, fresh-faced 17-year-old Ben to perform a duet with Clare, showing off all the talent of true and tested professional as he sang Listen Baby to a rapturous audience.
A star was being born before their eyes and they cheered and clapped and cheered again as the boy busker proved his ability to entertain and delight in a duet alongside Clare and her big band.
“The music thing comes from my parents really,” he told Marlborough News Online, “My father and my mum are both musicians. So growing up I used they always played on the piano and I would come along and pick up some instrument too.
“Now the guitar is my favourite instrument but I am a singer songwriter really. Because of that I was busking at the Jazz Festival last year and Clare came along and said, "You’ve got an amazing talent. Would you like to come and perform next year?"
“I was taken aback about that. I still can’t believe what’s happened. It’s so surreal. And I really enjoyed it playing for such a great crowd of people along with Clare.”
He still a year to go at St John’s before hopefully winning a place at a music college. “Then I want to write songs for the rest of my life,” he declared. “And what’s happening today is all so fantastic.”
Click on name of artist to view pics....
|Ray Harris||Brewin Dolphin Bandstand|
|Nick Harper||Fire Station|
|Red Stripe Band||Priory Gardens|
|Clare Teal||Priory Gardens|
|Adam Winslet||Priory Gardens|
|Flap!||Brewin Dolphin Bandstand|
|The Jive Aces||Priory Gardens|
|Chris Jagger||Brewin Dolphin Bandstand|
|Steve Clayton||Brewin Dolphin Bandstand|
|Son Yambu||Fire Station|
|Straight Six||Bear Hotel|
|Angela Jones||Bear Hotel|
|Bob Bowles, with Joe Bishop and Sean Ivens||Royal Oak|
|Ben Lythe||Bow House|
|Zoe Schwarz Blue Commotion||Brewin Dolphin Bandstand|
|Artesian Hall Stompers||The Lamb|
|Gilmore & Jaz||High Street|
|Kennet Vale Band||London Road|
|Tom Green Septet||London Road|
|Micky Marlborough||Busking in the High Street|
|Zoe Rahman Quartet||Priory Gardens|
|Cubana Bop||Priory Gardens|
Channelling the spirit of Jools Holland and his Big Band, regulars The Red Stripe Band were back for a 14th Marlborough Jazz Festival appearance on Friday night.
Led by Neil Drinkwater, who recalled their first festival appearance had been at the British Legion Club, the band have since been promoted to the spacious Priory Marquee, where they got toes tapping with their infectious mix of boogie-woogie and jump jive.
The captivating Miss Smith took centre stage, while Drinkwater squirrelled himself away behind a piano before leaping out near the end of the set to join his band in the audience, and then led a conga around the marquee to The Champs' Tequilla, and wrapped up proceedings with a bit of audience participation in Red Stripe Boogie.