Wally Fields Jazz Orchestra, Queen Elizabeth Hall, London

This was a double labour of love. Just over a year ago the jazz pianist and conductor Wally Fields brought together some of the finest brass and woodwind soloists around to form a fresh Jazz Orchestra - no mean feat in itself.

Here was the Klezmer Swingers' genial maestro, recovered from his illness, kick-starting the big band tradition afresh (not least with his own spanking-new "Partizan Rhapsody" for piano and orchestra, a slightly creaky but heartfelt tribute composed for the occasion) in a concert dedicated to those few thousand Jewish fighters who courageously took up arms during the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising at the onset of Passover in 1943.

Ghetto bands, as Fields reminded us, drew large audiences (including sundry German officers) in Warsaw and Krakow during the darkest 1940s. Such was the calibre of this new ensemble, you might have felt, deep in your bones, that one of the finest had been reincarnated: the Ghetto Swingers, based over the border in the Czech lands' ill-fated showcase camp of Theresienstadt, until Poland-bound transports claimed nearly all.

This was a true big band event, lovingly played, with a flood of top-notch solo front-men, a conductor (Paul Eshelby) whose trumpet solo in Louie Bellson's "Blow Your Horn" knocked the socks off them all, and - offsetting the flamboyance of pieces like "Sing Sing Sing" or the dark dazzle of Stan Kenton's "Malaguena" - an atmosphere of sombre reverie into which Fields' entire mesmerised audience seemed respectfully drawn in.

A starkish, slightly wooden acoustic at times battled with a well-managed sound system, yet the sound for the 18 blazing brass en masse was magnificent. Occasionally, Eshelby might rein in the ensemble more, to add a subtler undertow, or allow reflective solos more rubato and breathing room. But it was Fields's stylish soloists who shone through. He has signed up a young vocalist of real potential, Jenny Howe, with a rich, glowing sound and delivery that could, with time, acquire a Cleo Laine personality. Howe's stage gestures are still too contrived - she needs to free up to "fix" an audience naturally. But her firm, unfancy voice sounds just adorable.

There was much else. James Pearson's solos in Addinsell's "Warsaw Concerto" - shades of Anton Walbrook's Polish flier in Dangerous Moonlight - and Fields's own concerto were first-rate: like Harvey Brough, he is a Jacqueline Dankworth accompanist, and it showed. But it was those well-seasoned, highly professional leads - saxophonist Andy Mackintosh ("The Fisher"/"Segal Sunny Gets Blue"), Gordon Campbell ("Polka Dots and Moonbeams"), Findon again on clarinet ("Begin the Beguine") or Sammy Maine on low sax for Harry Warren's "I Know Why" - who turned this terrific concert into a real work of art.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
Arts and Entertainment
Mark, Katie and Sanjay in The Apprentice boardroom
TV
Arts and Entertainment

Film The critics but sneer but these unfashionable festive films are our favourites

Arts and Entertainment
Frances O'Connor and James Nesbitt in 'The Missing'

TV We're so close to knowing what happened to Oliver Hughes, but a last-minute bluff crushes expectations

Arts and Entertainment
Joey Essex will be hitting the slopes for series two of The Jump

TV

Who is taking the plunge?
Arts and Entertainment
Katy Perry as an Ancient Egyptian princess in her latest music video for 'Dark Horse'

music
Arts and Entertainment
Dame Judi Dench, as M in Skyfall

film
Arts and Entertainment
Morrissey, 1988

TV
Arts and Entertainment
William Pooley from Suffolk is flying out to Free Town, Sierra Leone, to continue working in health centres to fight Ebola after surviving the disease himself

music
Arts and Entertainment
The Newsroom creator Aaron Sorkin

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Matt Berry (centre), the star of Channel 4 sitcom 'Toast of London'

TVA disappointingly dull denouement
Arts and Entertainment
Tales from the cryptanalyst: Benedict Cumberbatch in 'The Imitation Game'

film
Arts and Entertainment
Pixie Lott has been voted off Strictly Come Dancing 2014

Strictly
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

    Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

    Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
    Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

    Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

    The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
    Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

    Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

    The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
    Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

    The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

    Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas
    La Famille Bélier is being touted as this year's Amelie - so why are many in the deaf community outraged by it?

    Deaf community outraged by La Famille Bélier

    The new film tells the story of a deaf-mute farming family and is being touted as this year's Amelie
    10 best high-end laptops

    10 best high-end laptops

    From lightweight and zippy devices to gaming beasts, we test the latest in top-spec portable computers
    Michael Carberry: ‘After such a tough time, I’m not sure I will stay in the game’

    Michael Carberry: ‘After such a tough time, I’m not sure I will stay in the game’

    The batsman has grown disillusioned after England’s Ashes debacle and allegations linking him to the Pietersen affair
    Susie Wolff: A driving force in battle for equality behind the wheel

    Susie Wolff: A driving force in battle for equality behind the wheel

    The Williams driver has had plenty of doubters, but hopes she will be judged by her ability in the cockpit
    Adam Gemili interview: 'No abs Adam' plans to muscle in on Usain Bolt's turf

    'No abs Adam' plans to muscle in on Usain Bolt's turf

    After a year touched by tragedy, Adam Gemili wants to become the sixth Briton to run a sub-10sec 100m
    Calls for a military mental health 'quality mark'

    Homeless Veterans campaign

    Expert calls for military mental health 'quality mark'
    Racton Man: Analysis shows famous skeleton was a 6ft Bronze Age superman

    Meet Racton Man

    Analysis shows famous skeleton was a 6ft Bronze Age superman
    Garden Bridge: St Paul’s adds to £175m project’s troubled waters

    Garden Bridge

    St Paul’s adds to £175m project’s troubled waters
    Stuff your own Christmas mouse ornament: An evening class in taxidermy with a festive feel

    Stuff your own Christmas mouse ornament

    An evening class in taxidermy with a festive feel
    Joint Enterprise: The legal doctrine which critics say has caused hundreds of miscarriages of justice

    Joint Enterprise

    The legal doctrine which critics say has caused hundreds of miscarriages of justice
    Freud and Eros: Love, Lust and Longing at the Freud Museum: Objects of Desire

    Freud and Eros

    Love, Lust and Longing at the Freud Museum