Music

Average White Band/Kokomo, Royal Festival Hall, London

Keith Bruce

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four stars

On an accidental Scottish Day at the EFG London Jazz Festival, young big band Fat Suit played for a capacity house in the Clore Ballroom of the Royal Festival Hall, their free rush-hour set grabbing passers-by as well as the seated attentive. It was the newest tunes, to be unveiled on the group's 2016 album, that grabbed the attention: Sparks and For The Wicked are two titles to look forward to hearing again. Star soloist was Alan Benzie, producing some dazzling work on his retro-sounding synthesiser. At the other end of the day, veteran vocalist Sheila Jordan's charming set in the Pizza Express in Dean Street was as much a showcase for the dependable and always inventive Brian Kellock at the piano, with Calum Gourlay on bass.

In between, on the mainstage at the RFH the festival revived a double-bill of homegrown soul and funk that ruled the mid 1970s, with London band Kokomo supporting Scotland's own Average White Band. Of the two, the more rarely heard Kokomo fielded more of the original line-up, including guitarists Jim Mullen and Neil Hubbard, Tony O'Malley on keyboards and vocalists Paddy McHugh and Frank Collins, and included Hubbard's beautiful Forever in a set of more familiar stage favourites. AWB, on the other hand, contain just Alan Gorrie and Onnie McIntyre of the original members but played many more of their best known tunes, relatively recent addition Brent Carter doing much of the heavy lifting on vocals, with McIntyre on blistering form and two very fine saxophonists taking care of instrumental business. An ill-judged extended drum solo apart, it was a set designed to keep the faithful on their feet, from the Isley's Work To Do onwards.