Review: Joe Stilgoe, The Apex, Bury St Edmunds, Wednesday, December 12

Joe Stilgoe with his band who thrilled the audience at The Apex, in Bury St Edmunds. Picture: SCOTT

Joe Stilgoe with his band who thrilled the audience at The Apex, in Bury St Edmunds. Picture: SCOTT RYLANDER - Credit: Archant

The warmth of his music felt just like a comforting blanket wrapped around you and his soft, mellow voice swayed and swinged the audience.

It was a mixture of virtuosic musicianship and interaction with the audience along with on-the-spot improvisation and wit which captured the imagination of those lucky enough to secure a seat for his near two-hour show.

An accomplished singer, pianist and songwriter Joe was backed up with an astoundingly adept and thrilling 16-piece band which featured five saxophones, four trombones, four trumpets, bass, guitar and drums.

And most of them had their own spotlight in the concert and one particular highlight was his acoustic version of the festive favourite “Frosty The Snowman” which featured Joe along with clarinet, bass, guitar and washboard.

But there were other wonderful examples of his genius with his own compositions and reworkings of well-known standards including “Is You Is Or Is You Ain’t My Baby”. “Top Hat, White Tie and Tails”, “Gold On Silver”, “December Lights”, “Nothing’s Changed” and “Jeepers Creepers”

mixed with Yuletide songs featuring “Let It Snow” and “Sleigh Ride” along with his tributes to legendary arrangers Irving Berlin, Cole Porter and Louis Prima.

Joe has toured all around the world with his band and as a solo act, having appeared in jazz clubs from New York to Berlin to Kuala Lumpur.

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He has had sell-out runs at legendary London venue, Ronnie Scott’s, The Other Palace with Claire Martin and at the closing night of the 2017 EFG London Jazz Festival Concert at the legendary St John’s Smith Square venue.

He has also appeared as featured soloist with orchestras including the BBC Concert Orchestra, John Wilson Orchestra, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, Northern Sinfonia, Lahti Symphony, and the RTE Orchestra in Dublin.

And his show at The Apex was a thrilling experience for those attending.

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