Georgie Fame and the Blue Flames

Large georgie fame picture brian rasicrex

It's altogether rather heartening to realise that the Herts Jazz Festival has now existed long enough to have established its own in-house traditions, one of which appears to be that Georgie Fame is a mandatory inclusion, no matter what. He's already appeared with his own inter-family trio and fronted a roaring big band revisiting material from his Sound Venture days, but this year’s festival closer promises something else again – his own Blue Flames, a band that has morphed through various incarnations to emerge as it does tonight – a veritable all-star line-up of British jazz greats. And it's the jazz side of Fame that this outfit seems to encourage – although there'll undoubtedly be a selection of “the hits”, the Blue Flames natural blend of small-band bop, soul and ballads leaves equal room for name checks of such formative Fame influences as Chet Baker, King Pleasure and Jon Hendricks. In between the cool-cat crooning, there's also bags of space for the instrumental talents of Barker, Skidmore and Kerr, with the leader offering a timely reminder that long before he became a chart-topping household name he was among the pioneering jazz organists in the UK. Nearly fifty-five years after he first scored a number one, Fame is still on top of his game, still bridging the gap between jazz and more populist idioms, and, all the more importantly, still ensuring that neither loses out as a result. Forget all those pretentious mixes of this music and that, all those tiresome fusions of incompatible stylistic idioms – this is where jazz meets pop and truly works.

< Back to festival

Sunday October 7, 8:00pm

  • > Alec Dankworth - Double Bass
  • > Alan Skidmore - Tenor Saxophone
  • > Georgie Fame - Vocals, Organ
  • > Anthony Kerr - Vibes
  • > Tristan Powell - Guitar
  • > James Powell - Drums
  • > Guy Barker - Trumpet