Sophia goes Backstage! at the Jazz Festival

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“Believe it or not, we quite like a cloudy day with a bit of rain.”

Just a few days into some warmer weather, Matt Harris’ comment was met with some derision as he introduced the fantastic CSUN Jazz Band all the way from sunny California, but I think even if Lyme Regis had not been bathed in sunshine, the energetic and extremely talented 22-piece band would still have left the audience in complete rapture.

The CSUN Jazz Band is the epitome of that congenial Californian custom with their casual American college boy look whilst simultaneously being fully focussed on the task in hand; they immediately captivated the audience as they leapt into their performance that was part of the Lyme Regis Jazz & Blues weekend.

The obvious camaraderie between the players with plenty of supportive smiles and nods of admiration as individual band members stood to play lead, added to the mix of creating that sensational big band sound.

We heard hits including Dizzy Gillespie’s Woody‘n You, Count Basie and Johnny Hodges Squatty Roo, but such was the eclectic mix we also enjoyed Matt Harris’ arrangement of Tim Ries’s arrangement of the Rolling Stones Honky Tonk Woman with guitarist Victor San Pedro singing the lyrics.

And it wasn’t just about the fantastic music, the young students aged 18-38 had many other talents, including trumpeter Michael,

“How quickly can you solve a Rubik’s Cube puzzle,” Matt asked the audience. How about with one hand, whilst playing the trumpet?

If it’s Michael, the answer is less than 60 seconds! With witty anecdotes and humorous stories, Matt and CSUN really did give us the complete package of wholesome American entertainment.

The audience couldn’t get enough and the encore was James Brown’s I Feel Good once more with singer/guitarist Victor.

The audience exit poll included words like “fantastic”, “brilliant” and “excellent” and as you asked Matt, cricket whites have been de rigueur since the 19th century, maybe next time we’ll explain the rules of the game!

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Blog by Sophia Moseley