Dec 18 – Zoltan Sagi Quintet

Shades of Goodman

When some people walk out of the door after a jazz performance and say ‘thank you, what a great evening,’ you must that something is right. When a number of people all say the same thing with broad smiles then you know that this is the kind of music that works like a charm. This was the very pleasant situation on Monday evening.

Zoltan is well known to local audiences and so were the other musicians, although pianist Tom Berge and drummer Billy Weir might be regarded as ‘new boys’ although they have played at the Berkeley before but they settled in without any problem at all. In fact full marks to them for the way they conveyed the music which was way before their time.

The remaining members of this quintet cut their teeth playing this kind of music. Swing with a definite Goodman theme. Zoltan played clarinet throughout the evening making sure that the theme was faithfully adhered to. Paul Sawtell played the part of Lionel Hampton on vibraphone. Clive Morton who has probably plucked his bass strings for many big showbiz names, played with flair and just fitted in so well.

The programme too was put together with some thought with Zoltan crediting both the writers of the songs and whether they put Benny into the hit parade of the time. It really was quite simply that if you were a fan of Goodman music then this evening was heaven-sent for you. And even if you weren’t particularly dedicated to that era, you could still have enjoyed an evening of really swinging jazz and be very well entertained at the same time.

I think a few more evenings like that would sit very well in the Berkeley’s calendar.