Edinburgh Jazz Festival

Bratislava Hot Serenaders

Spiegeltent George Square, Edinburgh

four stars

Alison Kerr

FOLLOWING their success at last year’s Edinburgh Jazz Festival, the Bratislava Hot Serenaders returned on Tuesday evening, to a packed Spiegeltent. This 19-piece ensemble is ideally suited to the beautiful vintage venue – both musically, with the Serenaders’ repertoire of 1920s and 1930s numbers, and visually, with their period style of dress, authentic period instruments and their famous period microphone which is tilted in the direction of whoever is soloing by their obliging, Jeeves-like, crooner.

Tuesday’s concert had a déjà vu feeling about it, as many of the tunes had been played at last year’s show, and the same observations kept springing to mind as the Serenaders powered through a programme of 22 numbers in 90 minutes. Once more it was clear that this band has excellent hot jazz credentials, which revealed themselves immediately – on their exhilarating recreation of Duke Ellington’s Cotton Club Stomp.

Indeed, as was the case the last time the Bratislava Hot Serenaders came to town, the 1920s Ellington elements of the evening were the absolute stand-outs for jazz fans – after all, chances to hear such gems as Old Man Blues and Washington Wobble played so authentically and thrillingly are few. Wonderful takes on I Got Rhythm and Dinah were also highlights from the swinging section of the programme.

The bulk of the concert, however, was given over to the dance music of the day – novelty tunes, such as The Broken Record, and numbers involving the stylish vocal trio the Serenader Sisters, went down extremely well with the audience. All that was missing was a dance floor…