Review: Clare Teal’s Mini Big Band, the Apex, Bury St Edmunds, last night

Clare Teal

Clare Teal - Credit: Archant

Clare Teal is a girl of many talents.

She is probably best known to the masses for her regular broadcasts on BBC Radio 2 promoting the sounds of the big band.

But the woman, branded Britain’s Queen of Swing, has a silky, lilting voice and a wonderful personality.

And that was evident as she linked up with seven fantastic musicians (piano, bass, drums, trumpet, trombone, two saxophones) all stars of the UK big band and jazz world in their own right, for a memorable night at the Apex which had the near capacity audience swinging, swaying and foot-tapping along.

A self-confessed fan of Doris Day she featured a string of her hits during her 90-minute set including ‘Shaking The Blues Away’, ‘Secret Love’ and ‘Perhaps, Perhaps, Perhaps’.


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Add to that a raft of her own compositions plus a celebration of her other heroines: Ella Fitzgerald, Peggy Lee and Judy Garland.

Her spine-tingling rendition of Peggy Lee’s tender ballad ‘The Folks Who Live On The Hill’ was the highlight of the evening and left many in the audience with a little tear in their eye ... such was the wonderful arrangement of the well known song.

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There was a great mix of numbers throughout her show featuring jazz, swing and samba where Clare was able to display her extensive vocal range to the full.

‘I’ll Be Your Baby Tonight’, ‘Teardrops From My Eyes’, ‘Dream A Little Dream Of Me’, Judy Garland’s ‘Forget Your Troubles Come On Get Happy’, ‘Hallelujah’, ‘That Old Black Magic’ and ‘Chasing Cars’ just some of the well known songs she and her band performed.

And she rounded off the evening where every musician had the chance to be in the spotlight with a rousing encore of Etta James’ hit ‘I Just Wanna Make Love To You’.

It was another great event as part of the 10-day Bury St Edmunds Festival which continues until this coming Sunday.

Later in the evening the 42-year-old Yorkshire lass found time to send a tweet after the show saying: “Thanks @Buryfestival for a lovely mini big band gig at the Apex beautiful building fabulous audience see you all again soon I hope xxx.”

And that could be sooner than some people expect as she is due in Suffolk during the summer with appearances scheduled for June 19, at the New Wolsey Theatre as part of the Ipswich Jazz Festival; and July 4, at Southwold, as part of the resort’s art festival.

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