Review: Joe Stilgoe, The Apex, Bury St Edmunds, February 17
This review of Joe Stilgoe’s performance at The Apex might be more honestly and accurately titled ‘confessions of a superfan’ because frankly, I think he is great.
First heard on BBC Radio 2 with Richard Madeley, it was his cameo appearance in High Society at the Old Vic in London that cemented my love for this jazz pianist and since then I have taken every opportunity to see him perform – and I am not alone. He has played sold out shows at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe and Ronnie Scotts, charming audiences with his music, humour and endearing personality.
Now he’s on tour promoting his new album, ‘Songs on Film’, and it is that show which brought him to Bury St Edmunds last week, where the audience may have been somewhat smaller but certainly no less appreciative of his special brand of accessible jazz, laced here with a heart-warming dollop of movie nostalgia.
The show opened with a witty homage to Star Wars, via a large screen, before Joe took to the stage with his regular band, Tom Farmer on double bass and drummer Ben Reynolds, and proceeded to delight the audience with his take on a plethora of cinema classics.
There was something for everyone with songs from all film genres – from Pulp Fiction to Disney – along with some of Joe’s own music, including the catchy ‘Popcorn’, an ode to his favourite picturehouse. All were brilliantly performed but the simple genius of ‘It had to be you’ morphing into ‘I wanna be like you’, accompanied by the double bass alone, has to be seen to be believed and clearly highlights the trio’s great chemistry.
Throw in funny film shorts, a ‘Guess the Studio’ game, Joe’s inimitable charm and the joy that is Tom Farmer’s facial expressions and you have a show that is not just for jazz fans, but for anyone looking for an entertaining, musical night out.
There is even a special guest appearance by Kermit the Frog and, in the words of George and Ira Gershwin, who could ask for anything more.
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