Sunday, June 7, 2009



We had a blast last night when England’s top swing band, The Jive Aces, touched down and turned Pasadena into the swingingest place on the planet!

In the late ‘60s and early ‘70s, England arguably saved the blues and many blues singers from obscurity. And it was the resurgence of swing and jive in England that led to the American success of Big Bad Voodoo Daddy, Royal Crown Revue, The Wiseguys, and others. England (with an assist from Japan) also embraced Brian Setzer and the Stray Cats’ rock-a-billy vibes long enough for the Brian Setzer Orchestra’s big band sound to emerge.

Now come The Jive Aces. Formed in 1989, these guys play a uniquely British fusion of jive, boogie-woogie, rock-a-billy, and swing, from standards to originals. On Saturday night, they set over 200 dancers swinging, jiving, jitterbugging, and lindy hopping like it was the end of the world.

Front man, Ian Clarkson (vocals & trumpet) oozed charisma and channeled Bobby Darin as he worked the crowd’s frenzy, and the rest of the band (Ken Smith – double bass, ‘Big” John Fordham – saxes & clarinet, Vince Hurley – piano, Alex Douglas – trombone, Peter Howell – who was out with the flu Saturday so Mark admirably filled in – on drums) in their signature canary yellow suits, black shirts, and red ties, were as sharp as new razors.

Touring in support of their new CD Recipe For Rhythm, the song of the evening had to go to the original London Rhythm. Written by drummer Peter Howell and pianist Vince Hurley, London Rhythm starts by swinging the sounds of Big Ben’s ‘bongs’ and rips on from there – very possibly the song to define The Jive Aces.

Cheers for a great evening that left the crowd sweat soaked and jumping. My feet tapped all the way home.

1 comment:

bookings said...

Hey Paul,
Thanks for the feature and sorry I couldn't make it on Saturday night. See you next time we're in LA!
Cheers, Peter