We were back here for two sessions this year, and - judging by unanimously favourable comments from within the band - this seems to be becoming our favourite jazz festival, thanks to an excellent venue, fabulous surrounding countryside, an eclectic mix of bands, a relaxed and friendly atmosphere, and smooth and efficient organisation ... all that, plus really enthusiastic and supportive audiences!
It was great to have such a packed house (marquee!) for our Saturday session with the full band, though it seemed that our Secret Weapon - Hamish Maxwell - rather stole the show with his usual showbiz panache, despite a rather breathless last minute arrival after a bit too much excitement on his journey up the M5. There were lots of encouraging comments from audience members after the session, mainly along the lines of how refreshing it was to hear so many numbers that most other bands don't play - well, we do try! - and how our humour and enjoyment in playing together add to the listening experience ... all very flattering! One mystery remains, however - having observed one audience member making 'quality' notes against bands listed in his programme (eg: good/v good/excellent etc) our favourite pianist spotted him write just TWO ASTERISKS against this band's listing! Now what on earth could that mean?! ... We fear the worst!
Our Sunday session was something of a re-run of our successful concert at Worcester's Three Choirs Festival last year, when we based our programme, with our five-piece ODJB line-up - on 1917: the first jazz recording, the ODJB in Britain, the death of Joplin, and the imminent end of the ragtime era. Throwing in some early Bechet for good measure, we enjoyed the challenge of trying to recapture those early days, and, once again, the feedback from our knowledgeable audience was most encouraging and sent us on our homeward way with a warm glow ...
Massive thanks are due to Graham Smith and his fine team for inviting us to play at Pershore and for putting on such a great weekend for both audience and musicians - long may he continue! It's such a great opportunity for us to play for real jazz enthusiasts, but also to take a bit of time out to enjoy hearing other bands in a wide range of styles - not often a feature of your average festival! Hopefully, we may be invited again ... can't wait!