Review: Georgie's party drips with brass

First Night: Georgie Fame's Birthday Big Band, Forum, London

THEY SAY that Georgie Fame is hip again now, but if that's true, why am I sitting in a venue as bare as a Scunthorpe dance hall on a wet Wednesday night, surrounded by Puffa jackets and perms? It wasn't supposed to be like this. But then, maybe booking the Forum on England's World Cup match night was ambitious.

It's true that, around the mid-Eighties, when he was one of the best- paid producers of advertising jingles, and a purveyor of pseudo-pop cabaret, Georgie Fame really was the height of un-hip. But how many of us would know him without Yeh Yeh or the zippy Get Away (adapted from a TV petrol commercial).

The new reverence is all because the man born Clive Powell in Leigh, Lancashire, 55 years ago today has been raised to god-like status for sticking bluesy jazz and R&B on the British map. His winning ticket was a nasal croon and that funky Hammond organ.

After a stint in a local cotton mill, Fame's first job was as a pub pianist. By 17, he was playing alongside Billy Furyand Gene Vincent, but it was in 1962 that he and the Hammond got together. Holding court at Soho's Flamingo club, the gap-toothed prodigy entertained audiences of American GIs, and much of what he plays tonight dates from those ultra-cool days.

It's Georgie's party, with the whole of the upstairs sectioned off for his guests, so he can play what he likes.

The stage at the Forum is fairly dripping with brass - five saxes, four trombones, a sea of trumpets, plus guitars, drums, vibes, even a conductor: almost more of a crowd than we have in the audience. Which is a shame, because Fame, who looks like a wiry mid-career Sinatra with more hair, is hot, from a belting Yeh Yeh, and a loose Ballad of Bonnie and Clyde, through almost everything else.

Fame's recent renaissance was partly cued by his work with Van Morrison - and we're half expecting Morrison to appear, since he's in the country. But he didn't, and no one missed him. These are Georgie's people - more and more of them as the night goes on - and they buoy him up through two hours of shiny bebop and soulful beauty.

Fame is a modest and friendly cove, and there's no doubting his proficiency on barnstormers such as Gershwin's Strike up the Band. Still, it's the gorgeous meditative pieces that stand out.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn evocation of the conflict through the eyes of those who lived through it
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

C# Developer (Genetic Algorithms, .NET 4.5, TDD, SQL, AI)

£40000 - £60000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: C# Developer (...

C# Full Stack Developer (.NET 4.0, ASP.NET, MVC, Ajax, WCF,SQL)

£55000 - £65000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: C# Full Stack ...

AIFMD Business Analyst / Consultant - Investment Management

£450 - £600 per day: Harrington Starr: AIFMD Business Analyst / Consultant - I...

Business Analyst Solvency II SME (Pillar 1, 2 & 3) Insurance

£450 - £600 per day: Harrington Starr: Business Analyst Solvency II SME (Pilla...

Day In a Page

Middle East crisis: We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

Now Obama has seen the next US reporter to be threatened with beheading, will he blink, asks Robert Fisk
Ferguson: In the heartlands of America, a descent into madness

A descent into madness in America's heartlands

David Usborne arrived in Ferguson, Missouri to be greeted by a scene more redolent of Gaza and Afghanistan
BBC’s filming of raid at Sir Cliff’s home ‘may be result of corruption’

BBC faces corruption allegation over its Sir Cliff police raid coverage

Reporter’s relationship with police under scrutiny as DG is summoned by MPs to explain extensive live broadcast of swoop on singer’s home
Lauded therapist Harley Mille still in limbo as battle to stay in Britain drags on

Lauded therapist still in limbo as battle to stay in Britain drags on

Australian Harley Miller is as frustrated by court delays as she is with the idiosyncrasies of immigration law
Lewis Fry Richardson's weather forecasts changed the world. But could his predictions of war do the same?

Lewis Fry Richardson's weather forecasts changed the world...

But could his predictions of war do the same?
Kate Bush asks fans not to take photos at her London gigs: 'I want to have contact with the audience, not iPhones'

'I want to have contact with the audience, not iPhones'

Kate Bush asks fans not to take photos at her London gigs
Under-35s have rated gardening in their top five favourite leisure activities, but why?

Young at hort

Under-35s have rated gardening in their top five favourite leisure activities. But why are so many people are swapping sweaty clubs for leafy shrubs?
Tim Vine, winner of the Funniest Joke of the Fringe award: 'making a quip as funny as possible is an art'

Beyond a joke

Tim Vine, winner of the Funniest Joke of the Fringe award, has nigh-on 200 in his act. So how are they conceived?
The late Peter O'Toole shines in 'Katherine of Alexandria' despite illness

The late Peter O'Toole shines in 'Katherine of Alexandria' despite illness

Sadly though, the Lawrence of Arabia star is not around to lend his own critique
Wicken Fen in Cambridgeshire: The joy of camping in a wetland nature reserve and sleeping under the stars

A wild night out

Wicken Fen in Cambridgeshire offers a rare chance to camp in a wetland nature reserve
Comic Sans for Cancer exhibition: It’s the font that’s openly ridiculed for its jaunty style, but figures of fun have their fans

Comic Sans for Cancer exhibition

It’s the font that’s openly ridiculed for its jaunty style, but figures of fun have their fans
Besiktas vs Arsenal: Five things we learnt from the Champions League first-leg tie

Besiktas vs Arsenal

Five things we learnt from the Champions League first-leg tie
Rory McIlroy a smash hit on the US talk show circuit

Rory McIlroy a smash hit on the US talk show circuit

As the Northern Irishman prepares for the Barclays, he finds time to appear on TV in the States, where he’s now such a global superstar that he needs no introduction
Boy racer Max Verstappen stays relaxed over step up to Formula One

Boy racer Max Verstappen stays relaxed over step up to F1

The 16-year-old will become the sport’s youngest-ever driver when he makes his debut for Toro Rosso next season
Fear brings the enemies of Isis together at last

Fear brings the enemies of Isis together at last

But belated attempts to unite will be to no avail if the Sunni caliphate remains strong in Syria, says Patrick Cockburn